One Hour of Daily TV Linked to Childhood Obesity; Recipe for Reducing Diabetes Risk

For years, studies have linked too much TV watching to higher levels of obesity, but the latest research offers the most extreme example yet: Children in kindergarten and first grade who watch at least 60 minutes of television a day are more likely to be overweight or obese.

Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a two-hour limit on daily TV watching in childhood. But this study suggests that most kids should watch a maximum of half of that.

“Children watching one to two hours were heavier than those watching less than one hour, and were almost as heavy as those watching greater than two hours daily,” the study’s author, Dr. Mark DeBoer of the University of Virginia, told Newsweek.

DeBoer’s research team assessed data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, which included 11,113 kids enrolled in kindergarten during the 2011-2012 school year. Part of the study collected information about lifestyle factors, including each child’s computer usage and television habits as reported by his or her parents. The children’s height and weight were also measured.

Researchers then re-examined the same information from the same children and parents a year later. They found strong links between TV-watching habits and weight. The data showed that kindergartners and first-graders who had a daily dose of 1 to 2 hours or more of screen time per day had much higher body mass indexes than those who watched TV for an hour or less each day.

The children who spent at least 60 minutes in front of the TV were 39 percent more likely to become overweight and 86 percent more likely to become obese.

The researchers did not find a correlation between the children’s computer use and weight.

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CuttingBack on Sugary Drinks Linked to Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Think twice about that sugary drink. Cutting back on sugary drinks can significantly lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new medical study published in the April 20 edition of Diabetologia, an online medical journal.

“Substituting one serving [per] day of water or unsweetened tea/coffee for soft drinks and for sweetened-milk beverages reduced the incidence by 14 percent to 25 percent,” the study says.

A research team from the United Kingdom tracked the beverage intake of nearly 26,000 UK residents, who did not have diabetes. Study participants were followed for almost 11 years, and during that period 847 of the subjects developed type 2 diabetes.

After analyzing the data, the researchers found a link between consumption of sugary drinks and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. The culprits: sodas, fruit juices and sweetened coffee or tea.

“Water or unsweetened tea/coffee appear to be suitable alternatives to sugar sweetened beverages for diabetes prevention,” the study says.

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