Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Do couch potatoes have eyes?

Are your children couch potatoes? Do they spend more time in front of a screen (TV, computer or gaming system) then they do outside? This article posted today on HealthDay, Yahoo news, stresses the importance of exercise for kids of all ages.

Couch-Potato Kids: It Shows in Their Eyes, Researchers Say

Who knew that the vessels in your children's eyes get narrower from lack of exercise? That narrowing can lead to increased blood pressure which can then lead to heart attacks and strokes. I was shocked when I read the article. I usually associate narrowing of the arteries with stressed out adults, overweight people or elderly people with multiple health problems. I was relieved to learn that starting at the TV is not the cause of the narrowing of the vessels.

Berrocal stressed that parents should know it's not the TV or computer time affecting the retinal vessels, "it is the lack of exercise." And that lack of exercise often gets worse as screen time climbs.

This article is a must-read for parents of school-aged children. I don't think taking away TV or game time is the answer to the world's cardiovascular health problems. I think kids should still be allowed a moderate amount of screen time with a healthy balance of outdoor fun. Exercise, exercise, exercise can change those couch potatoes into tater tots! :)

Does this article change the time your child spends in front of the TV? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

4 comments: said...

My children were always so busy growing up, between football, dance, homework and playing outside with friends that didn't leave too much time for TV. Today in their adulthood with all of the video games may be a different story.
thanks for sharing.

Pam said...

I was the same way growing up...always outside, we didn't even have a TV. My Dad said it was "broken" when I was 6 and we didn't have one again until I was 13!
Thanks for commenting!

Diana Simon said...

Hi Pam, thanks for the clarification! A few weeks ago we spent some time with some friends in their country home and the agreement they have with their children is that you can watch one our of tv but if I see it makes you lazy, we will not let you watch tv the next day. My friend explained this to me because right after their tv time, they were out in the garden helping us with some tasks and I said wow your kids are really good.

The children were running around, raking up the leaves and just getting some exercise. I think my friends have done a good job!

Pam said...

Thanks for commenting. I have done the same with my son. If he spends time on the computer or TV and seems very lazy, he is not allowed any the next day. Actually, I tell him he can play on the computer for 30 minutes, but he chooses to not even turn it on, or the TV the whole day. Kids are smart!

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