The final school bells have rung here in the Lowcountry – always a reason to celebrate, for students, teachers and parents alike. Everybody needs a little shift in routine and a break from rigid schedules, not to mention homework. But the unstructured days of summer can be hazardous to your child’s health, especially if being out of school means being tuned in to TV or computer screens.
It’s certainly not news that too much TV is bad for you, but a new study from the University of Virginia suggests that “too much” can equal what might seem like not much at all. Researchers there followed more than 11,000 kindergarten-age children as part of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, and found that as little as one hour a day can raise a child’s obesity risk.
Data collected in 2011 and 2012 revealed that these children were averaging three hours of screen time each day, and those who watched between one to two hours of television were 43 percent more likely to be overweight and 47 percent more likely to be obese than kids who watched less. The risk for obesity correlated (higher and lower) directly with the amount of screen time.
So parents, you’ve heard it before, and now you’re hearing it again, limiting television and computer time during the long days of summer, when “On Demand” shows and Netflix streaming make TV marathons all too easy, is a good thing. Even a necessary thing, if you want kids to be healthy.
Walking or biking to the library to load up on some summer reading? Now that’s a smart idea!