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Study: TV Could Equal Weight Gain in Kids [AUDIO]

In this electronic age, more and more children have televisions in their bedrooms. However, a new study in JAMA Pediatrics found that 60 percent of children ages 10 to 14 had televisions in their bedrooms and of those children, researchers found that they had gained nearly an extra pound per year over a four-year period.

(Credit: Manae Media, ThinkStock)

“The problem isn’t necessarily the television, but obesity as a whole, and it is something that really needs to be taken into account as a parent, as a pediatrician and also by our society,” said Dr. Christopher Haines, chief medical officer at Children’s Specialized Hospital. “I think the impact of television and some of the video games certainly keep kids from getting outside. If they have easy access to television, they are less likely to be active. Obesity is an imbalance, taking in more calories and not expending those calories through activity.”

Obesity can also lead to long-term health problems which include diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

“Since I started, we have seen a significant increase in the obesity rates in children ages six and above. Twenty percent of kids between the ages of 6 and 11 are obese, and up to one-third of adolescents may be obese as well,” Haines said. “Electronics in the bedroom can also impact the quality of a child’s sleep.”

Parents need to take a more active role in teaching their children to make healthy choices, according to Haines, who recommends parents be partners with their health care providers and their pediatricians to look at their children’s’ weight and activity levels.

“It’s often a family burden and families need to get healthy together. If there are multiple members of the family that are overweight, that gives them some support and they can work together,” he said. “Parents should encourage children to get out and play and exercise as much as possible and teach them how to make good decisions with food.  By getting weight under control early on, a child is more likely to live a longer, healthier life.”

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