A new report suggests that childhood couch potato habits become worse in adulthood, suggesting the need for early interventions to encourage kids to be active. The report showed that the more television children watched at age 10, the more they watched in middle age.
A long term study ws conducted by researchers from University College London over 32 years, monitoring the television viewing habits of 9,842 people born in 1970 in the United Kingdom. The study began when they were ten years old and concluded at age 42.
When the study began, parents reported whether their 10-year-olds watched TV never, sometimes, or often.
Of the 1,546 participants who reported watching more than three hours of TV a day at age 42, nearly 83 percent had watched television often at age 10, the researchers report in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
The study also found that people who watched more than three hours a day of television in middle age were more likely to be in fair or poor health and to have had a father in a lower occupational class.
The study examined the habits of children who were 10 years old in 1980 – before smartphones, tablets, computers and videogames had begun to infiltrate kids’ lives, noted Christina Calamaro. She has studied the effect of technology on children at the Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware but was not involved in the current research.
“Once more, this affirms the importance of parental healthy behaviors, and it really does point to the need for early intervention, particularly in families with lower socioeconomic status that may not have access to safe playgrounds, a safe environment where children can go out and play and even healthy supermarkets,” she told Reuters Health.
“It’s really important to teach healthy lifestyles early on, from preschool to programs in the schools to every time that child walks into the healthcare office. ” she said.