While there is nothing wrong with children watching television, new research suggests this should be capped at 90 minutes in order to reduce the risk of obesity in later years.
According to the Independent, a group of child health specialists have found “a strong link” between rising child obesity levels and frequent exposure to the social media. The study found there was a strong link between obesity and prolonged exposure in younger years to TVs, computers and smart devices.
In light of their findings, they are warning parents to take action by limiting their children’s screentime to 90 minutes a day.
Dr Adamos Hadjipanayis, study’s lead author, said, “Parents should limit TV viewing and the use of computers and similar devices to not more than 1.5 hours a day and only if the child is older than four years of age.” Meanwhile, toddlers, on an average, watch an hour of television a day, according to the research.
The experts believed that childhood obesity has increased by an “alarming rate” and that parents should aim to understand the health impact of social media and screen use on their children.
By the time, a child has reached the age of nine, they are watching more than seven hours daily and spending much of the rest of their time engaging in other forms of digital media. They also found that engaging in media late at night can be hugely disruptive to young people’s sleeping patterns, which can put them at higher risk of obesity.
The study’s authors have advised parents to lead by example and reduce their own screentime, particularly when they’re in front of their own children. India has 14.4 million children that have excess weight.
Globally, over two billion children and adults suffer from health problems related to being overweight or obese, and an increasing percentage of people die from these health conditions. In 2015, obesity affected 2.2 billion children and adults worldwide, or almost one in three of all people. This includes nearly 108 million children.