A new study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association associates prolonged television viewing with increased risks of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, joining smoking and lack of exercise as major risk factors for those diseases. Parents can take note of the findings in light of the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation that kids under 2 watch no television, and older kids watch no more than 1-2 hours each day.
Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and the study's co-author, told The Boston Globe that the average American spends 5 hours a day watching television, possibly putting their health at risk in the process:
"There's something unique about TV watching," says Hu, that sets it apart from other sedentary activities, like reading a book or tapping out e-mails to friends. "People tend to eat while watching TV," he says. "They see commercials for junk food and sugary beverages, and it's part of our culture to eat chips and beer when watching a sporting event....It's almost completely passive and is probably the best marker of a sedentary lifestyle -- the couch potato syndrome."
For more, read one pediatrician's insight on whether our kids are watching too much television.
How do you handle television viewing with your kids?
(image via: http://www.fashioncentral.pk/)