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The Star, 24/11/99, p17

Why TV is bad for your children - a British study shows that kids
are becoming obese even though they are not overeating;

Parents who dump young children in front of the television are nurturing a
generation of overweight couch potato toddlers, experts are warning. Many
youngsters are getting fatter even though they do not overeat - and may
continue to be too heavy later in life, possibly leading to serious
illnesses... Experts have previously warned that obesity is on the increase
but figures published recently in the British Medical Journal provide the
first hard evidence of how even very young children are becoming fat due to
an inactive lifestyle....Reilly said other studies had shown today's
youngsters are eating less than in the past, but are watching more
television at an early age than toddlers in the 1970's and 1980's.  "What we
suspect is happening is that pre-school children have been replacing natural
active behaviour with inactive behaviour such as watching TV.  Children have
been eating less, but are watching more television - which includes watching
videos, Playstations or personal computer screens."...

10 key facts about children and TV:
1. Children watch an average of three hours of TV a day.
2. Children who watch four or more hours of TV a day spend less time on
school work, have poorer reading skills, play less well with friends, and
have fewer hobbies than children who watch less TV.
3. Children who watch TV for four or more hours a day are less likely to be
physically active outside of school.
4. Children who watch a large number of violent programmes tend to favour
using aggression to resolve conflicts.
5. More than nine out of 10 food ads on Saturday morning TV, are for sugary
cereals and chocolate bars, salty canned food, fatty fast food.
6. Children's Saturday mornings programming contains an average of 20 to 25
violent acts an hour.
7. The average child sees more than 20 000 TV adverts a year.
8. Children see at least an hour of TV adverts for every five hours of
programmes they view.
9. Most children younger than 6 do not understand that the purpose of
advertising is to sell a product.
10. Children who watch four or more hours of TV each day are more likely to
believe advertising claims than children who watch TV less often.
(Source: Campaign for Kids' TV, US)

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