Children`s time spent on TV and computer closely linked to parents` habits

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Washington: A new study has found that the amount of time children spend in front of TV, phone and computer screens is closely associated with their parents' own habits.

And this viewing happens much higher during weekend than weekdays, the study revealed.

Researchers at the University of Bristol analysed the amount of time children aged five and six spent watching television, playing video games and using computers, tablets and smartphones - activities associated with a range of health problems, including obesity.

The study showed that 12 percent of boys and eight percent of girls in this age group watched more than two hours of TV on a weekday, with 30 percent of parents exceeding this threshold.

Figures were much higher at weekends, with 45 percent of boys, 42 percent of girls, 57 percent of fathers and 53 percent of mothers watching more than two hours of TV each day.

Children were at least 3.4 times more likely to spend more than two hours per day watching TV if their parents watched two or more hours of TV, compared to children whose parents watch less than two hours of TV.

High levels of screen-viewing have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in adults, while children who spent a lot of time watching a screen are at an increased risk of obesity.

The study is funded by the British Heart Foundation and published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

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