“Did you know that if you focus really intently on something that takes as much energy as running across North America?”
Last week I helped out on my division’s stand for Science Week. The University of Manchester held a Science Fair for local schools to take part in some simple experiments and find out some new things about “science.” Our stand had a few games including a “Pin the Hormone on the Organ,” and tests to diagnose dogs with diabetes. I’ll just leave that there, I don’t think you need any more information right?..
So, whilst giving our little spiel the question (well statement? I mean I guess it’s a question as it starts with “did you know” but it doesn’t really seem to be asking anything worth while. Is it a rhetorical question? This is why I chose science, English is hard!) above was asked (stated? Goddamn not this again!). My colleague, a practicing clinician, experienced researcher and Head of the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Gastroenterology, nodded politely and said “no I hadn’t heard that.”
Staring at something intently? Like maybe a screen? Is this some nonsense thought up to encourage kids to watch TV or play video games? Well I wasn’t one to let this chubby 10-year old get away with it… Thanks to DiabetesPro literally the day before I saw this little story, “Screen time linked to increased diabetes risk in children.” So, I could shoot down that child with facts!
Obviously, I didn’t as I’m not (that much of) a jerk. But I still think it made interesting reading, and as I don’t have any kids I am in the perfect place to tell people how to raise their children. 1 hour of TV a day folks!
Children who spend 3 hours a day watching TV have increased fat mass, skin folds and insulin resistance. So basically 9-10-year olds are getting pre-diabetic. Even when taking into account factors like physically activity, gender, adiposity (fatness) and socio-economical markers, there is still more insulin resistance in the kids who watch more TV.
It’s likely that the large amount of TV isn’t solely to blame, but the habits which arise from it. Children who consistently watch TV, particularly eating meals in front of the TV, snack more whilst watching TV. Moreover, this policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested that children spend 8 hours a day engaging in some sort of media, and teenager more than 11. This included phones, computers and everything else, whilst admitting that a lot of this may overlap and therefore be exaggerated. But still they recommended limiting children’s screen exposure to less than 2 hours a day.
At the moment, it’s all correlative, so could be nonsense until more comprehensive studies are carried out, but stopping your kids snacking whilst watching TV 3 hours a day is probably a good idea.
Today’s quote is by Blakfish