TV Viewing Tied to Child Injury Risk

Children who watch a lot of television are more likely to sustain injuries than those who watch less TV. For every hour of TV viewed per day, the risk of injury rose by about 34% in the children studied. And the researchers found that children who watched 4 hours of TV a day -- the average for American kids -- were more than four times more likely to be injured than children who watched no television. Paradoxically, a child who spends more time watching television and devotes fewer hours to potentially more dangerous physical activities and games is at greater risk of experiencing events that cause physical injuries.

Why might TV-watching increase the odds of injuries among children? Television shows often distort reality. In TV cartoons, characters get run over by trains, and are up and running in the next frame. In action adventure shows, heroes jump from rooftop to rooftop without a slip. By distorting the consequences of risk-taking, television may encourage it. A previous study showed that by age 70, the average child today will have spent between 7 and 10 years of his or her life watching television.

Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine July, 1998;152:712-713.

COMMENT: Yet one more reason to seriously limit the TV watching time within your family. There are so many better things to do in life than expose yourself or your family to distortions of reality and the marketing hype of industry that implores you to purchase their products or services.

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