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Children who watch too much TV increase their risk of heart disease

by , 10 July 2013

While white potatoes often get a bad rap as a high-carb food that contributes to weight gain, there's one overlooked potatoes that's worse than them all: A couch potato. And now research has found kids who watch TV for longer periods are at an increased risk of heart disease. Here's why you should be worried of your child is a couch potato…

While no one doubts that watching too much TV is unhealthy at any age, a new study finds that little kids who watch TV for long periods already have the earliest signs of heart disease.

Here’s what it found

Limit the time your children watch TV to reduce their risk of early heart disease

Australian researchers who conducted the study randomly selected 1,492 6-year-olds from 34 schools in Sydney and asked the kid’s parents to fill out questionnaires on how much time each day the children spent watching TV, using a computer and playing outside.

The results were alarming.

Researchers found that the average child spent just 36 minutes a day being physically active and nearly two hours a day parked in front of a screen.

In addition, researchers photographed the arteries in the backs of the children’s eyes and found that the couch potatoes had narrower blood vessels and that each hour of television watching lead to a narrowing of 1.53 microns.

“That’s a number so small it’s impossible to picture, but in real-world terms, it’s enough to raise systolic blood pressure readings by 10mmHg,” says Dr William Campbell Douglass of The Douglass Report.

Researchers concluded that they have no idea what this means for children and plan to follow these kids to see what happens as they age.

But “you need a study to know that narrow blood vessels lead to increased heart risk in adults. If that process is starting years earlier, in crèche, the long-term news can’t possibly be good,” warns Dr Douglass.

That’s not the only problem with TVs, computers and video games…

Other studies have linked glowing screens to sleep issues and developmental problems.

Is there a solution to decreasing the risk of heart disease for your kids?

The answer is yes. The best way to make sure your child is safe is to have a TV free home.

But if you can’t quite kick the TV to the curb, at least limit the number of hours your child spends watching it.

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