New research finds that children who often watch television in the evenings could be stuck with the habit for a lifetime.
Prolonged TV viewing has been previously linked with type 2 diabetes, as well as an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Scientists at University College London (UCL) evaluated data on 6,000 British people at the age of 10, and then 42, spanning three decades. They aimed to assess how the TV viewing habits of children could influence them decades afterwards.
When participants were aged 10 in 1980, they were interviewed about their health and leisure habits, including how often they watched TV. The answer options were “never”, “sometimes” or “often”.
1,546 people reported watching more than three hours of TV a day at the age of 42, with 83 per cent of this group also found to watch TV “often” at age 10.
These 42-year-old participants were also more likely to be in “fair” or “poor” health, researchers observed, as well as being reportedly either overweight or obese. Obesity is one of the primary causes of type 2 diabetes.
UCL researcher Dr. Mark Hamer will tell a research conference on 16 March 2015 that their research “suggests that interventions to reduce passive TV viewing time should target children and their parents.
“That could be extremely beneficial as research has also shown that TV viewing is associated with other health-risk behaviours, such as the consumption of energy-dense foods and cigarette smoking.”

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