A negative link has been found between the amount of television young children watch, their health and their academic development.
A Canadian study of 1, 300 children found those allowed to watch more than the recommended maximum of 2 hours a day had lower levels of engagement in the classroom and truggled with maths.
High levels of TV watching were also linked to an increased guzzling of fizzy drinks and junk food leading to weight gain and bullying at school.
However, within the guidelines “exposure to some high-quality, age-appropriate educational television for children aged 2 to 5” is encouraged by the UK’s National Literacy Trust.
It recommends limiting TV exposure and encouraging other activities that help children to learn language. These include talking at meal and bath times, reading together and imaginative playing.
Encouraging children to be more active and spend less time in front of the box was echoed yesterday as doctors warned that being overweight from childhood doubles bowel cancer risk.