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There are lots of reasons to limit how much TV kids can watch. What extended TV watching does to a young cardiovascular system is one of them.
A study by researchers in Spain and Brazil show that when children watch more than two hours a day of TV, it increases their risk of high blood pressure by 30 percent. The same study shows that for kids who get less than an hour a day of exercise, watching this much TV increases the high blood pressure risk by 50 percent.
“The study shows the number of new high blood pressure cases and the connection between physical activity and different sedentary behaviors with the risk of high blood pressure in European children,” says researcher Augusto César F. de Moraes.
The research, lasting two years, examined the health data of of more than 5,200 children who were part of a study called the Identification and Prevention of Dietary- and Lifestyle-induced Health Effects in Children and Infants (IDEFICS). They were from eight countries and were between 2 and 10 years old when the study began.
According to the scientists, when TV watching leads to early high blood pressure, the chances of serious heart problems also increase. “High blood pressure can cause cardiovascular problems later in life,” says F. de Moraes. “For example, it increases the risk of ischemic heart disease.”
The study concludes: “The figures are worrying, given that sedentary behaviors are common in infancy and subsequently, later in life.”