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Author Topic: TV viewing delays development for babies: Study  (Read 1834 times)

Offline CareDC

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TV viewing delays development for babies: Study
« on: May 04, 2010, 08:07:28 AM »
Don't let your babies grow up to be couch potatoes.

A study by researchers at the Universite de Montreal, Hopital Sainte-Justine and the University of Michigan comes to the not-entirely-surprising conclusion that watching too much television is bad for your child's health and brain development

But Linda Pagani, the professor and researcher at Universite de Montreal and Sainte Justine who headed the study, said their findings, published Tuesday in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, illustrate how the bad habits of a lifetime take root long before kids set foot in a classroom, influencing everything from how well they do in math to the odds they'll be bullied during recess.

Pagani's team used Quebec's Longitudinal Study of Child Development to track the effects of TV viewing on children's physical, emotional and intellectual growth.

The parents of 1,314 children were asked how much time their little ones spent in front of the box at 29 months and again at 58 months. When the children were 10, researchers used academic records, interviews with Grade 4 teachers and body mass index measurements, weighted against factors such as temperament, family makeup and how far their mother went in school to tease out a portrait of how TV watching as a toddler shaped a child's ability to focus, process complex information and think logically.

"We found every additional hour of TV exposure among toddlers corresponded to a future decrease in classroom engagement and success at math, increased victimization by classmates . . . a more sedentary lifestyle, higher consumption of junk food and, ultimately, higher body mass index," Pagani said.

Pagani, a mother of three who keeps the family television unplugged on school days, said the study wanted to zero in on the potentially-harmful effects which early television viewing had on a child's development in the critical formative years when the brain triples in weight.

"Human habits crystallize in the preschool period, from toilet training through to the kinds of foods we like to eat," Pagani said, suggesting toddler parked in front of the television nibbling sweet snacks is more likely to grow into a physically-inactive child who is distracted in class and struggles in math.

"TV watching is a passive activity, intellectually and physically," said Pagani, who wanted to see how even moderate television watching in early childhood could have a lasting effect.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television viewing for babies before the age of two and less than two hours a day for children two years and up.


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