Too much TV, study finds

Sydney Morning Herald 12 Dec 07
CHILDREN aged 10 to 12 years spent two hours and five minutes a day doing moderate physical activity, half the amount they did when they were aged five to six. They watched “excessive” amounts of television, averaging three hours a day, a longitudinal study by Deakin University has found. Forty per cent of 800 families surveyed in 2001, 2004 and 2006 had two televisions at home, and 32 per cent of boys and 25 per cent of girls aged 10 to 12 had a set in their bedroom, said the director of the Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, Professor David Crawford, yesterday. “Television viewing has been linked to increased risk of overweight and obesity,” Professor Crawford said.He presented the findings of the study, CLAN: Children Living In Active Neighbourhoods?, at a conference in Sydney called Tackling Childhood Obesity In Australia. The recommendation for children’s viewing is no more than two hours a day, he said. In terms of barriers to physical inactivity, the study found that 21 per cent of secondary students preferred TV or electronic games, 19 per cent thought they looked funny when being active and 18 per cent said they did not have anyone to be active with. For primary school students, their parents said 29 per cent enjoyed doing things other than physical activity, 13 per cent thought their child was not the sporty type and 11 per cent thought most of the child’s friends did not play sport.