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Television viewing for more than 2 hours may increase the risk of high blood pressure in children

Posted:  Friday, March 06, 2015

Now, a study has backed the common parental rule of curbing TV viewing time among children. A study on European children found that spending more than 2 hours a day watching TV increases the probability of high blood pressure by 30%. The study also found that doing no physical activity or less than an hour’s physical activity may increase this risk by 50%.

The researchers used data from the 2 year 'Identification and Prevention of Dietary- and Lifestyle-Induced Health Effects in Children and Infants' (IDEFICS) study conducted among 5,221 children from eight European countries. The children were aged between 2 to 10 years at the beginning of the study. The results of the study were published in the International Journal of Cardiology.

They found that the cumulative incidence of high blood pressure after 2 years of analysis was high: 110 in 1000. Sedentary behaviour in children such as extended time in front of the television or video consoles, and lack of physical activity could be some of the reasons for the increased risk of high blood pressure in this group.

"The study shows the number of new high blood pressure cases and the connection between physical activity and different sedentary behaviours with the risk of high blood pressure in European children," said the researchers. Talking about the study findings, they further added, “The figures are worrying, given that sedentary behaviours are common in infancy and subsequently, later in life".

High blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease later in life. Different studies have shown that the levels of arterial pressure in infancy and adolescence have an enormous impact on developing high blood pressure as an adult. To combat this risk, the researchers recommend at least 60 minutes of physical activity because it is a natural vasodilator and helps decrease arterial pressure. They even advise that sedentary activities should last no longer than two hours a day.

Thus, it would be wise to catch some sunshine and ensure that children play outdoors for good health in adulthood.

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