The Relationship between Television and Childhood Obesity
There is a link between childhood obesity and watching television. Allowing children to watch too much television, eating the wrong types of food and not being physically active is contributing to the health problems that are associated with childhood obesity. Childhood obesity can lead to elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Children seem to spend more time watching television, playing video games and on the computer than anything else. Children between the ages of 8 and 18 spend more than 40 hours per week watching television, on the ...view middle of the document...
Fifty percent of families have at least four of the newest media staples: TV, VCR, video gaming devices and a computer. A 21st century child has a multimedia environment in their bedroom. These activities are causing them to become overweight. They tend to watch television more than any other activity except sleeping (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2005). Parents are using the television and other electronic devices as their babysitter or to get their children out of their way. These parents do not realize that they are contributing to the obesity of their children. It has been suggested that there should be a relationship between physicians and parents to deter children from watching more than 2 hours of television per day. Not all physicians encourage parents to limit the time that their children watch television. (Howe 2008).
The factors that are associated with obesity are genes, domestic environment, health, psychological influences, hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, lifestyle and eating habits but the environment is the worst. (Coates & Thirensen, 1978; Collipp, 1980; Rasmussen; 1976). Television has been linked to obesity and has caused children to be at risk for high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, heart disease and diabetes.
Children who spend an enormous amount of time in sedentary activities are more likely to become obese adults with health problems. (Ludwig & Gortmaker 2004). They are also more likely to choose foods that are advertised during the times that they are watching television than those that are healthy for them. Some researchers have suggested that commercials advertising junk foods be banned from television during the time that children are watching. (Alarcon, 2004). Alarcon also stated “that there should be a community approach to solving the problem of childhood obesity.” Children who watch television more than two hours per day are more likely to ask their parents for the snacks and foods that are advertised on television than the one that are more nutritious and healthy for them.
It is time that parents, caregivers, grandparents and anyone who loves children take an approach to limiting the time children watch television, monitor what kinds of snacks and foods they eat encourage them to exercise. Our children are the future and we should want them to become healthy adults without major health problems. “Parents have the responsibility to limit the time that children watch television and get them involved in other types of activities in order to prevent childhood obesity (Stelter 2008).” They should also make sure that they are eating and exercising enough.