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TV watching leads to adult health risks

Posted - Jul. 16, 2004 at 3:20 p.m.



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DUNEDIN, New Zealand, Jul 16, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Children and adolescents who watch television for at least two hours a day increase risk of poor health as adults, researchers from New Zealand said.

A team from the University of Otago conducted the first longitudinal study of television's effects on health from childhood into adulthood. They followed 1,000 children born in New Zealand in 1972 and 1973 and found extensive TV viewing increased the future risk of obesity, smoking, high cholesterol and poor cardiovascular fitness by the time the group reached age 26.

Researchers estimated about 17 percent of those health risk factors in 26-year-olds could be attributed to extensive TV viewing.

"Although the adult health indicators that we have found to be associated with child and adolescent television viewing are unlikely to result in clinical health problems by the age of 26 years, they are well established risk factors for cardiovascular illness and death later in life," wrote researcher Robert Hancox. "We believe that reducing television viewing should become a population health priority."

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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