A Television-Free Home: Is It for You?

General Health
(From God's Design for the Highly Healthy Child by Dr. Walt Larimore. All rights reserved) For a variety of healthy reasons, more and more families have chosen to pull the plug on television. They may do it to promote family closeness, to better control what their children are exposed to, or to stimulate their children’s dreams and creativity. You may be amazed by the positive changes in television-free homes documented by professor Barbara Brock of Eastern Washington University. (more…)
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Cartoon characters prod kids to nag for unhealthy foods

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Obesity, Parenting
If you're a parent, you've no doubt heard plaintive wails from your child as you traverse the treat-filled aisles of the grocery store. And, you may have wondered, what makes even preschoolers yearn so desperately for the character-shaped marshmallow cereal? Or the prepackaged frozen meal in the brightly colored box? Now, new research suggests one culprit: those cutesy cartoon characters used to sell foods in TV ads. (more…)
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TV watching as dangerous as smoking and lack of exercise

General Health, Health Headlines
Researchers in Australia say smoking "can shorten of life expectancy by more than four years after the age of 50. That represents 11 minutes of life lost for every cigarette and that's the same as half an hour of TV watching." Said another way, for every hour of TV watched "after age 25, lifespan falls by 22 minutes." Ouch! Time to turn off the TV, snub out the cigarettes, and begin walking 15 minutes a day to increase the quality and quantity of your life! (more…)
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Why does TV viewing lead to obesity in children? Turns out there are several reasons

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Obesity, Parenting
Obesity experts have been saying for over a decade that children who sit in front of the TV screen day in and day out tend to be heavier. However, experts are finding it's not only the couch potato effect, but the television ads children are watching, along with other factors that can add inches to their waistlines. (more…)
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Pediatrics group urges lawmakers to ban childhood obesity “media diet”

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Obesity, Parenting
Childhood obesity has become an epidemic in America – with 17 percent of children aged 2 to 19 obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics "has a new suggestion: ban companies from advertising junk food during children's television programs." (more…)
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Daycare centers purposely flout TV guidelines

Children's Health, Mental Health, Parenting
A shocking study has reported that media, such as just turning on the TV, is used far too often as a replacement for adult-child interaction. In fact, the study showed that, "More than two-thirds of daycare centers included in a new U.S. study have TVs available for children to watch, and nearly 60 percent of the centers ignored the American Academy of Pediatrics' guidelines for television exposure in young kids." (more…)
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Study Shows Risks for Kids Who Watch TV or Use Computers More Than 2 Hours a Day

Children's Health, Mental Health, Parenting
New research is documenting some of the risks I've told you about in previous blogs for kids who utilize screen time (TV, computers, video games) more than 2 hours a day. Specifically, children who watch television or use computers for more than two hours a day are more likely to experience psychological problems than kids who don’t, even if they are physically active, according to this new study. Here are the details from WebMD: The study, which involved 1,013 children ages 10-11, found that those who spent more than two hours in front of a screen, whether watching TV, using a computer, or a combination, also were more likely to say they had trouble relating to friends and peer groups and to report feelings of unhappiness. The children were told to wear…
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Screen Time May Consume Nearly 1/3 of Day for U.S. Kids

Children's Health, Mental Health, Obesity, Parenting
Child experts have issued an updated policy statement on use of electronic media for entertainment by kids. This is critical because children and teens in the United States spend an average of seven hours A DAY using television, computers, phones and other electronic devices for entertainment (compare this to the average of three hours a day watching TV in 1999). Parents, physicians, and educators need to understand the effects of this increasing exposure to media and educate youngsters about media use according to the American Academy of Pediatrics in the updated policy statement. Here are more details from HealthDay News: The AAP statement lists several concerns: Excessive time spent using electronic media leaves less time for physical activity or creative and social pursuits. Violent or sexual content can have harmful effects, as…
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Study: Mental Health Deteriorates With Increased Television

Men's Health, Mental Health, Woman's Health
In many previous blogs I've reminded you of the dangers of television exposure to your children and teens. Now, here's a warning for us adults: a new study has found that watching more than 4 hours of TV a day has an adverse effect on mental well-being. Here are the details from LifeSiteNews.com: The study was conducted by Mark Hamer, PhD, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, and research associates Emmanuel Stamatakis, PhD, and Gita D. Mishra, PhD. It analyzed the association of leisure-time sedentary behavior in adults, measured by television and screen-based entertainment (TVSE) time, and mental health. The researchers looked at mental health survey data of 3920 men and women between the ages of 35 and 65 years, from the 2003 Scottish Health Survey. The…
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Too Much Screen Time Can Threaten Attention Span

Children's Health, Mental Health, Parenting
Kids and young adults who overdo TV and video games are almost twice as likely to have a wide variety of attention span problems -- at least according to a study in the journal Pediatrics. Here are the details in a report from HealthDay News: Too much time spent watching television and playing video games can double the risk of attention problems in children and young adults, new research finds. The study is the latest of many to point out the ill effects of excessive screen time, whether at the computer or the television. Researcher Edward Swing, a graduate student at Iowa State University, compared participants who watched TV or played video games less than two hours a day -- the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics for children aged 2…
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Stricter Rules Can Steer Kids Away From TV

Children's Health, Mental Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
I've blogged on the facts that (1) "Too Many Tots Watching Too Much TV" and (2) most parents don’t when children under two years of age are exposed to watching television that his has potential harms. There is NO scientific evidence that shows that television and video viewing in children of this age has any educational benefit. Instead, there have been several studies that have shown that TV viewing at 2 years of age and younger can have negative impacts on learning, language and attention and it’s also linked to childhood obesity. And physically active kids watch less television, researchers are now reporting. So, who can make a difference? You know the answer ... it's the parent! Here's a report with the details from HealthDay News: -- Children whose parents set…
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Too Many Tots Watching Too Much TV: Study

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
This headline is no surprise to long-time readers of this blog. But, despite the recommendations that children (over age two) be exposed to no more than two hours of screen time a day, and the recommendation that children two years of age and younger be exposed to NO TV, a study from Oregon finds that about than 1 in 5 of these very young children are exposed to MORE than the recommended 2 hours a day. Here's a report from HealthDay News: A study of 2-year-olds in Oregon finds that almost 20 percent watch more than the recommended two hours of television a day. "The findings are pretty generalizable to the rest of the country," said study co-author Dr. John Oh, an epidemic intelligence service officer with the U.S. Centers…
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Long-term harm seen with too much TV for toddlers

Children's Health, Parenting
The more TV a toddler watches, the higher the likelihood they will do badly at school and have poor health at the age of 10, researchers warn. The study of 1,300 children by Michigan and Montreal universities found negative effects on older children rose with every hour of toddler TV. Performance at school was worse, while consumption of junk foods was higher. Here are the details from BBC News: The study, part of the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development Main Exposure, asked parents how much TV their children watched at 29 months (two years and five months) and 53 months (four years and five months). On average, the two-year-olds watched just under nine hours of TV per week, while for four-year-olds the average was just under 15 hours. But 11% of the two-year-olds…
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More TV for toddlers equals school trouble later

Children's Health, Parenting
Toddlers who watch too much TV may struggle in school later, with measurably lower scores in math, Canadian and U.S. researchers reported recently. Less surprisingly, children who watched more TV at age 2 weighed more by the time they were 10 and ate more snacks and soft drinks, the researchers reported in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. "The results support previous suggestions that early childhood television exposure undermines attention," wrote Linda Pagani of the University of Montreal and colleagues at Bowling Green University in Kentucky and the University of Michigan. They said children who spend more time watching TV and less time playing with other kids may lose valuable chances to learn social skills. The researchers started with more than 2,000 children taking part in a larger study.…
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Time spent watching television may be linked to increased risk of death

General Health
The Wall Street Journal reports that there may be a link between the time an individual spends watching television and his or her risk of death, according to a study published in the journal Circulation. Bloomberg News picked up the story, reporting that investigators "tracked the TV-viewing habits of 8,800 adults and followed them for six years." The study findings indicated that "every hour of daily TV watching increased the risk of dying from any cause by 11 percent," HealthDay reported. The researchers found that "for cardiovascular diseases the increased risk was 18 percent, and for cancer it was nine percent." When "compared with those who watched less than two hours per day, those who watched TV for more than four hours each day had an 80 percent increased risk of…
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Daycare May Feed Your Kids’ TV Habit

Children's Health, Parenting
According to a AP story, "Parents who thought their preschoolers were spending time in home-based day cares, taking naps, eating healthy snacks and learning to play nicely with others may be surprised to discover they are sitting as many as two hours a day in front of a TV, according to a study published Monday." When added to the two to three hours many parents already admit to allowing at home, preschoolers in child care may be spending more than a third of the about 12 hours they are awake each day in front of the electronic baby sitter, said Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle and a researcher at the University of Washington. That's double the TV time he found in…
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Television Viewing Linked to Blood Pressure Increases in Children

Children's Health, Heart Health, Parenting
In the past I've discussed the studies showing that the more screen time kids have (TV, Internet, video games, cell phone), the more likely they are to be overweight or obese, the less sleep they will get, and the less well they will do in school. Now, new research is showing that children who spend a lot of time watching television have higher blood pressure than those who watch less, even if the children are thin and get enough exercise. More Information: (more…)
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