October 2nd, 2012
Kids, media and obesity: Too much 'screen time' can harm your child's health
By Sue Hubbard
A recent study released in Pediatrics looks at mounting research showing that a child’s media use may be linked to their body weight, not only due to the fact that they don’t get as much exercise if they’re watching TV and using other media, but also due to other issues related to media exposure.
The policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, entitled “Children, Adolescents, Obesity and the Media” states that, “American society couldn’t do a worse job at the moment of keeping children fit and healthy - too much TV, too many food ads, not enough exercise, and not enough sleep.”
It has become my routine during well child exams (beginning as young as age 2) to ask parents as well as older children, “Do you have a TV in your room?” and “Do you have a computer or DVD player in your room?” I’m still amazed at the number of young children who answer “yes” to these questions. Fortunately, many also say “No,” and then ask me when they can have a TV in their room! My standard answer is, “When you leave home and go to college or work.” Most parents are relieved with this response. A few don’t understand why I’m even asking the question.