Friday, October 9

Research: if you're teen and fat, you most likely play games

Apparently the most significant difference between overweight youth and their healthy peers is the amount of time they spend in front of the TV screen watching movies or playing videogames, this is according to a new study that compared different patterns.

This report was compiled by the Canadian institute for health information (CIHI) which analyzed three different lifestyle behaviors of girls and boys age 6-11 and 12-17. Areas of focus included: Fruit and vegetable consumption, time spent watching TV, playing videogames and using a computer for recreational purposes. These activities were dubbed "screen time" (basically means playing videogames) and physical activity.

Unsurprisingly, the most significant behavior difference between overweight and non-overweight boys and girls and younger female children was "screen time." What'd they expect? Gaming is some of the most fun one can have.

Almost 50% of childdren age 6-11 reported spending at least two hours a day in front of a TV or computer compared to 31 percent of their non overweight peers. Here's where things went straight down hill: Among overweight teenage boys, get this, 75 percent of them spent two hours or more in front of a screen.

This is significant stuff, according to Mark Tremblay, chief scientific officer for the non-profit group Healthy Active Kids Canada, parents need to not only monitor for drug use, but also for the amount of time their children spend in front of a screen.

"They should monitor and ensure that screen time use doesn't increase beyond two hours a day," he said in an interview.

Tremblay also noted the importance of instilling healthy behaviors early on in life to help prevent kids from becoming overweight.

"What we know is that it's tremendously difficult to correct after they've gotten to a stage, which reinforces the need to keep healthy kids healthy, just like you want to keep non smoking kids not smoking," he voiced.

Officials hope to use findings to help form tailor-made strategies for promoting healthy behavior in girls and boys at different stages of their lives.

10/09/09 Ernice Gilbert

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