Saturday, 3 December 2005

Watching TV too much not only affects eyesight but also makes adolescent children obese and overweight

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Dec 3: Watching TV too much not only affects eyesight 
but also makes adolescent children obese and overweight.
According to a research study conducted by the city-based National 
Institute of Nutrition, school children, particularly in the age group 12-
17, who spend more than five hours a day watching television are 
seven times more susceptible to obesity and overweight than those who 
watch TV for less than three hours.
The explanation offered is quite simple. Spending more time in front of 
television means less physical work and hence overweight and obesity. 
The study revealed that the prevalence of adolescent overweight and 
obesity among urban adolescent school children in Hyderabad was 
higher than in their rural counterparts by 0.6 per cent.
The prevalence was more among the children of upper middle and high 
socio-economic groups compared to the children of low and low 
middle socio-economic groups. Obesity was found to be relatively less 
among children participating in physical exercises like games and 
sports and higher among the children with no physical exercise or who 
were watching TV for long hours.
The report points out the problem was also higher among children who 
consumed fatty and fried foods and also among those frequently 
consuming snacks and ice creams.
The NIN selected 23 schools catering to low, middle and upper middle 
income groups adopting the stratified random sampling procedure. 
Anthropometric measurements like height (cms) and weight (kgs) were 
taken on 1,208 adolescent school children using standard procedures. 
Information on socio-economic and demographic particulars, their 
perceptions and practices on diet, lifestyle patterns, physical activities 
and frequency of consumption of foods was assessed using pre-tested
questionnaires.
The scientists carried out stepwise logistic regression analysis which 
revealed that in general, the prevalence of overweight and obesity was
6.2 per cent. Girls are a little bit obese (6.3 per cent) as compared with 
boys (6.1 per cent). The prevalence was significantly higher by 0.001 
per cent among children studying in private and private aided 
institutions (eight and nine per cent) as compared to those studying in 
the government institutions (2.4 per cent). The figures for children with 
different economic backgrounds are upper middle (6.7 per cent), high 
socio-economic status (13.1 per cent) and the low and low middle 
socio-economic status (1.7 to 2.5 per cent).
It was significantly lower in the children who were reportedly 
participating in the household activities for more than three hours a 
day. On the other hand, obesity was significantly higher by 0.007 per 
cent among children (9.3 per cent), who are watching TV for more than 
three hours a day as compared to the children (5 per cent), who are 
watching T for less than three hours a day.
The report noted that the prevalence of overweight and obesity was 
seven times higher among the children, who were watching TV for 
more than five hours a day, compared to the children with less than five 
hours a day.
The incidence is 4.4 times higher in the children who belong to upper 
middle and high socio-economic status compared to the children of low 
and low middle SES and 3.9 times higher in the children who were 
studying in public schools compared to those in government schools. 
Participation in household activities for more than three hours a day  
had some protective effect from overweight and obesity.

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