Can the Amount of TV Viewing Time Affect Your Child’s Weight?

By J Russell Hart  |   Submitted On June 17, 2015

Fact: Kids 8 to 18 years old spend on average 4 hours per day watching T.V and an additional 2 hours per day on the computer playing video games. Not only are kids not getting any exercise during these six hours per day, but most likely they are taking in more calories than they should through eating unhealthy foods while watching TV… ending up being a double-whammy.

Health officials have long known that TV time is directly related to being overweight and even obese. But excessive time in front of the TV can also lead to other unhealthy issues, such as less social interaction, interrupted sleep, behavior problems and the development of risky behaviors. After all, the advertisements on TV don’t make for good healthy lifestyle role models for kids to follow.

So what is a parent to do? Set a good example by limiting the amount of TV you watch per day when your child is around. A safe limit is one to two hours per day during school nights and two to three hours per day on weekends. Educational programs could increase that time if something special is airing.

Instead, replace the excessive TV time with activities that are both fun and healthy. Go for family bike rides or walks after the evening meal. Go to a park close by and play basketball, tennis or other sports that require running so that your kid (and you) burn off excess calories. If other kids are there, ask them to join in so that your child gets some social interaction and learns the value of playing with others. These skills will serve them well as they grow into mature adults.

While watching TV, it is normal to want to eat something. Advertisements don’t help your child eat healthy as they bombard viewers with unhealthy eating options, such as super-sized hamburgers, fries and soft drinks.

When watching TV, encourage your child to eat healthy by providing apples, oranges and other healthy snacks. There is a fine line between giving them something good to eat and them actually eating what you are giving them. They most likely are used to eating unhealthy processed food loaded with excessive salt and sugar, so healthy food will taste different. Start with small subtle changes and gradually work up from there.

By limiting the amount of time your child watches TV and providing healthy eating choices during the time they are in front of the TV will go far to keeping off excess weight. And by adding in activities that burn off calories, your child might actually lose weight or at least not gain any additional weight.

Russell (Rusty) Hart is the founder of the Health, Fitness & Sport Club, a website devoted to the promotion of health, fitness and wellness. Should this subject matter be of interest you can visit the HF & S Club home site where you’ll find over 1,300 quality posts with new posts being published daily. To quickly access those that are of interest you can select any of 20 Categories broken down by over 260 Sub-Categories for easy access.

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