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TV Linked to Childhood Hypertension

AMES, IOWA: Laying around staring at TV is unhealthy, according to the latest research blaming television for personal behavior. This time, the conclusion is that too much TV gives kids high blood pressure. Computers and video games were also measured, as well as other sedentary activity.

Researchers at Iowa State University and the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid, Spain, found that certain sedentary “screen time” behavior is associated with elevated blood pressure in children regardless of cholesterol levels and other factors, according to Science Daily. The results were published in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. According to the results,

Researchers examined 111 children between 3 and 8 each day for one week. Their behavior was measured by an “accelerometer” worn on the hip, and by parental reporting. They were sedentary on average five hours a day, and spent 1.5 hours in front of a screen. The kids who watched the most TV (including DVDs and videos) had the highest blood pressure. Computer use did not yield the same association.

“Given that total objective sedentary time was not associated with elevated blood pressure, it appears that other factors, which occur during excessive screen time, should also be considered in the context of sedentary behavior and elevated blood pressure development in children,” the authors wrote.
-- Deborah D. McAdams

More TVB coverage of TV’s sociological influence:
July 30, 2009: “Indian Official Recommends TV to Control Birth Rate
Azad is pushing for nationwide deployment of electricity to bring TVs into homes across the over-populated country. India is home to about 1.2 billion people, or 17 percent of the world’s population on 3 percent if its land mass. The country’s expected to surpass China’s population in the next two decades.

June 2, 2009: “TV Deteriorates Kids’ Ability to Talk”
Kids and those who take care of them talk less the more they listen to TV, according to a study from the University of Washington School of Medicine.

June 23: “TV Makes People Tired”
The same research found that around seven in 10 Americans watch a couple of hours of TV a day before going to bed, and most wait for a viewing cue rather than drowsiness to dictate when they turn in.