Being a Couch Potato can lead to heart disease
Parking in front of the TV, eating some snacks and just letting time pass by, sounds fun, right? Well, a recent study presented recently has shown that there is link between watching TV for prolonged periods of time, Junk food consumption and cardiovascular diseases. What is a bit more alarming is that this habit is very present among middle school children and these habits could potentially result on heart conditions in their future.
This same study has also stated that middle school kids that spend two hours or more in front of a TV screen are more likely to eat unhealthy snacks, and therefore be at a potential risk of cardiovascular disease.
This study was presented at the most recent American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session on its 63rd edition. The study was performed on over 1000 children from 24 different middle schools in communities located in the different neighborhoods in the Southeast Michigan region. Researchers gathered information using standardized questionnaires to gather preliminary information on areas such as health behaviors, the amount of time the children dedicate on watching TV, their snacking habits, their choices for snacks and beverages in the previous 24 hours. Then, researchers measured the children’s blood pressure, their cholesterol levels, and heart rate recovery after exercise; also they measured their height and weight. After the tests were performed the population of these children was divided into three groups: low screen time, high TV-watching time, and those children who spend more time using a computer or playing video games.
Now the results might not be surprising or shocking, as one would expect those kids who spend more time in front of a screen (TV or a computer) have a tendency to snack more often, and their snack choices are often not the best kind, as they tend to choose junk food snacks. One of the suggested reasons for such behavior is likely because children will experience a constant bombardment of TV ads reinforcing junk food.
On a separate study performed in previous months The American Academy of Pediatrics had pointed out that children have the tendency to eat more whenever they are watching television. They had recommended parents reduce the amount of TV-watching to two hours daily, however the statistics had shown that children can even spend over seven hours or more watching TV or playing video games daily. Pediatricians and experts all agree that the amount a child spends watching TV should be moderated and accompanied by time dedicated to physical activities, however it is also important that healthy snack habit is introduced to them early in life.
Now it is this writer’s opinion that such recommendations can apply to grown ups as well.