Kids who enjoy screen time as little as one hour a day are more likely to be overweight than their peers who watch TV for less than one hour, according to a study by the University of Virginia which was presented April 26 at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in San Diego.
Researchers analysed data gathered from more than 11 thousand pre-school children during 2011-2012 school year. Information such as the number of hours of television that children watched at weekdays and weekends, and how often they use computers as well as children’s height and weight was collected from parents.
A year later the questionnaire was repeated, and height and weight of the children were measured.
According to the results, children watching just one hour TV a day were 50-60 percent more likely to be overweight and 58-73 percent more likely to be obese compared to those watching less than 60 minutes.
However, computer use was not linked to the obesity according to study author Dr. Mark D. DeBoer, associate professor of pediatrics from the University of Virginia.
“High amounts of computer use would be expected to be associated with less physical activity but may not lower energy expenditure quite as much as TV viewing,” DeBoer told FoxNews.com.
"Given overwhelming evidence connecting the amount of time TV viewing and unhealthy weight, pediatricians and parents should attempt to restrict childhood TV viewing."
Childhood obesity is accepted as an epidemic today with 42 million overweight or obese children globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) close to 31 million of those children are living in developing countries.
It’s not just third world countries struggling with the issue. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says childhood obesity has more than doubled in children in the past three decades in the US. According to CDC statistics more one third of the children and adolescents in US are overweight or obese.
According to 2013 data from the Turkish Health Ministry, 8.3 percent of children in the country are obese and 14.2 percent are overweight.