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Daily TV Hours Linked To Percentage Of Obesity

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Rachel Lukasavige on Obesity

The health of our kids is at risk as the children watch lots of TV and spend many hours on the web. This study shows how the TV and Web hours go in parallel with the percentage of obesity that our kids gain.

Most research today tells us that the more TV we watch, the more likely it is that we are overweight or obese. We are constantly encouraged to replace television time with exercise and get our youth more involved in activities. And studies prove that there is a good reason for this.

The correlation between increased TV time and increased weight seems plausible. As we are sitting on the couch we are more likely to snack, especially on foods that are not so good for us. How many times have we watched a movie and not indulged in popcorn, potato chips, candy, or ice cream? It does not matter if we are watching the movie at home or in the theater, we are conditioned to think that we need to be eating. The same goes for watching television, especially at night when we have already had dinner.

When we watch TV many times we eat. While our attention is on watching TV we don't notice how fast we may be eating. Dr. Toni Brayer says "with all of the diets around and advice given to help people lose weight, just having them chew their food more slowly would help," in his article Eating Fast Makes You Fat.

We also have less time to be physically active when we spend so much time on the couch. When you get hooked on a show, chances are pretty slim that you will miss an episode so you can get out for a walk, a bike ride, or go to the gym. For most people, their weekly TV time is more important than exercising.

I recently came across data from the CDC that linked the prevalence of obesity in youth to the number of hours each day that they watch television. The results showed that as the hours watched per day increased, so did the percentage of those who were obese.

TV Hours Watched per Day - % of Obesity

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1 - 17%

2 - 23%

4 - 25%

5 - 29%

6 - 35%

This does not necessarily mean that you have to stop watching all of your favorite shows. Try choosing one or two of your favorites and limit your weekly television time to those. During commercials, get up and walk around the house, lift some light weights, or do crunches.

The important thing is that you recognize how much you are on the couch and remember to balance that with physical activity. If you do snack during a show, make sure it is something healthy such as fruit or low-fat popcorn.

In regard to tackling child obesity the experts provide some tips to parents which mainly involve limiting the TV and Web time. Also the experts say learn about how your children are using the new media types, such as Text messaging. Don't trust the ratings of the video games very much. Don't allow children to have computers, TVs or other media in their bedrooms and set limits on how a child may use a new purchase, such as an iPod, from the beginning.

Rachel Lukasavige is a Health Coach at Lukas Coaching. You can view more free articles, download free books, and become a member of the Reader's Group at no cost by visiting http://www.healthierwayoflife.com