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A Canadian study found that children who increase the number of hours of weekly television they watch between the ages of two and four years old risk larger waistlines by age 10. Every extra weekly hour watched could add half a millimetre to their waist circumference and reduce muscle fitness.

The study, in a BioMed Central journal, tracked the TV habits of 1,314 children. Researchers found that the average amount of television watched by the children at the start of the study was 8.8 hours a week. This increased on average by six hours over the next two years to reach 14.8 hours a week by the age of four-and-a-half. Fifteen per cent of the children in the study were watching more than 18 hours per week by that age, according to their parents.

The study said the effect of 18 hours of television at 4.5 years of age would by the age of 10 result in an extra 7.6mm of waist because of the child’s TV habit.

Lack of activity or abundance of junk food adverts?

Reading this article I found myself thinking back to the recent news about Disney banning junk food adverts targeted at kids and wondering what is causing this weight gain. Is it the lack of active movement while watching TV? Is it the junk food adverts making kids want to eat foods that make them fat?

Dr Linda Pagani at the University of Montreal says

“Watching more television not only displaces other forms of educational and active leisurely pursuits but also places them at risk of learning inaccurate information about proper eating”.

Scotland’s public health minister, Michael Matheson, believes that television adverts for food high in fat, sugar and salt should not be shown before the 9pm watershed.

Studies in the US have shown that nearly 40% of children’s diets come from added sugars and unhealthy fats and that  when children were exposed to television content with food advertising, they consumed 45 percent more food than children exposed to content with non-food advertising.

When I was a kid TV used to ask us “Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Television Set And Go Out And Do Something Less Boring Instead?” Perhaps for the future health of our nation we need to bring this message back to our TV screens.

Year Without Beer

Never mind the Olympics, 2012 is my Year Without Beer! I am spending all 366 days of this leap year alcohol free in an attempt to raise money for 2 charities that are both very close to my heart.

If giving up all alcohol for a year isn’t enough of a challenge to make you dig deep and show your support, maybe a quarter marathon, 10 mile road race (Great South Run) and 8 mile off road challenge (The Grim Original) will inspire you to sponsor me!

If you want to show some love them please donate to my year without beer and give your support to one of these fantastic causes:

  • To donate to Cancer Research UK please click here to visit my just giving page or donate by text – send AYWB66 and the amount to 70070. For example, texting “AYWB66 £5″ will donate £5.
  • To donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust please click here to visit my just giving page or donate by text – send AYWB55 and the amount to 70070. For example, texting “AYWB55 £5″ will donate £5.