TV puts children’s hearts at risk – through their eyes

Children who spend most of their time in front of the television have narrower arteries in their eyes, putting them at risk

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There’s a risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes affecting children later in life, due to spending too much time in front of the television.

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Declared as world-first research, 6 to 7 year olds who spent the most time on the sofa had narrower arteries in the back of their eyes, said researchers from the University of Sydney.

“Parents need to get their children up and moving off the couch. We found children with a high level of physical activity had a more beneficial microvascular profile compared to those with the lowest levels of physical activity,” said Dr Bamani Gopinath, leading author of the study.

Out of 1,500 children examined, those who participated in over an hour of physical activity had significantly wider retinal arteries than those who spent less than half an hour a day being active.

“This suggests unhealthy lifestyle factors may influence microcirculation early in life and increase the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure later in life. Replacing one hour a day of screen time with being physically active could be effective in buffering the effects of sedentary lifestyles on the retinal microvasulature in children,” Dr Gopinath explained.

Do your children exercise more than they watch TV?

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