Research has now shown that young children who watch one hour of television are more likely to be overweight. Kindergarten students and first-graders who watch one hour of television a day are more susceptible to becoming overweight compared to the children of the same age who watch less than one hour of television a day.
The study results were discussed during the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting, and this is part of the effort to help find ways to get children to become more active. There have been a lot of studies that have shown that children who watch hours of television are more at risk of becoming overweight, but there has not been a study done on the impact of children who are in kindergarten.
Researchers analyzed data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, which used 11,113 children who were in kindergarten during 2011 to 2012. The study was from the National Center for Education Statistics, and they collected the data from parents. There were various lifestyle factors that were included in the study, such as television watching and how often computers were used, which were all part of determining what impacts a child’s educational performance. The weight and height of the children were also calculated during the study. One year later, 10,853 of the same group of children had their height and weight measured again, and parents again were asked about the television watching habits of their children.
The results of the study showed that kindergarteners in the United States were watching about 3.3 hours a day of television. The kindergarteners and first-graders who watched more than one hour of television a day had higher body mass indexes than the children who watched less than 30 minutes of television every day. The study results were the same even after the researchers adjusted for various situations such as computer use, socioeconomic status, and race or ethnicity. The children who watched one hour of television ended up being about 60 percent more likely to be overweight. The children were also 73 percent more likely to be obese than the children who watched less than one hour of television. The results of the study also showed that computer use had no impact on the weight of the children. The study also showed that children who watched more than 60 minutes of television every day also were 39 percent more likely to be overweight. The study showed that those same children were 86 percent more likely to become obese in between kindergarten and first grade.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children should only get about 2 hours or less of television watching time every day, but this study is suggesting that even 2 hours is too much. In terms of this study, it seems that 30 minutes to 60 minutes is the maximum amount of time children should be in front of the television. It appears that the amount of time in front of the television affects younger children quite a bit, which is concerning since a lot of kindergarten and first-graders spend hours in front of the tube every day. Further studies might need to be done to confirm these results before the AAP lowers the recommendation on how many hours children should be watching television every day.