TV viewing more risky for heart than using computers

Toronto : High levels of TV viewing by kids can elevate their chances of developing heart disease later in life, but significantly high use of computer does not.

Different kinds of sedentary behaviour produce different consequences for young people’s health, according to the findings from Queen’s University, Canada.

“Even if a child is physically active, this activity is really only making up a short period of their whole day, so it’s important to look at other aspects of their day to see what’s going on,” says Valerie Carson, doctoral candidate in Queen’s School of Kinesiology and Health Studies.

Previous research has identified high volumes of sedentary behaviour as a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases in adults, the journal BMC Public Health reports.

But among the children she surveyed, Carson found no general connection between the volume of sedentary behaviour and the risk of developing diabetes or heart disease, according to a Queen’s statement.

Instead, she noticed some types of sedentary activities having a greater impact on children’s health than others. Specifically, high levels of TV viewing.

One possible explanation is that TV viewing falls near the bottom on the scale of energy expenditure, according to some research.

Another is that activities like snacking between meals that usually go hand-in-hand with specific kinds of screen times may be causing the associated health risks.

“Our study suggests we should also limit children’s television viewing time,” explains Carson.

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