Study indicates television viewing may be linked to increased blood pressure in children

The New York Times (8/6, Rabin) reported, “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 getting enough exercise,” according to a study published in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. For the study, researchers followed “a group of 111 children, ages three to eight, for about four years.” Participants wore “accelerometers — devices that record physical motion — for a week in order to” provide objective measurements of “the amount of time that they were sedentary.” The study showed that “children who watched the most television (from 1.5 to 5.5 hours a day) had significantly higher diastolic and systolic blood pressure readings than those who watched the least television (less than half an hour a day).” Notably, “the increased blood pressure wasn’t associated with the sedentary behavior overall, but specifically linked to increased TV viewing.” The researchers speculated that “extensive TV viewing may have harmful physiological effects because children often snack while watching TV.”

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