Think twice before letting your toddler do this

Think twice before letting your toddler do this

Is your toddler parked in front of the TV a lot?

It might lead to poor eating habits and poor performance in school, according to research from the School of Psychoeducation at the University of Montreal.

For the study, researchers closely followed the lives of almost 2,000 boys and girls born in Quebec between 1997 and 1998. The researchers collected information from the families when the children were 2 about how much television the toddlers were watching each day. And when those kids were 13 years of age, the researchers recorded information about the then-teenagers’ dietary habits and academic performance.

The researchers found that toddlers who regularly watched TV for prolonged periods of time grew up to adopt poor eating habits, including eating more processed food and skipping breakfast, to allow for more screen time. This ultimately led to increased body mass and poor school performance.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children aged 2-5 restrict their screen time to no more than one hour a day.

“What parents should take away from this research is that toddlers who watch too much television may adopt a sedentary lifestyle that will hurt their overall health and well-being later in life,” says Dr. JoAnn Ruiz, a pediatrician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “A sedentary lifestyle can lead to problems associated with obesity, such as cardiovascular illnesses.”

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  1. I have to admit that my son, now almost 13yrs old, loved the tv & games from a very young age. Around the age of 11/2 to 2 yrs if age is when he started trying to play Xbox. It wasn’t long before his world became surrounded by a game, t.v., & eventually gaming & YouTube! He is in the 7th grade now & everything from the study is my child! Poor eating habits, skipping breakfast, eats breaths & sleep’s gaming & videos! Can I get some advice on anyways to reverse that or strategies to make it better?

  2. outdoor activities, such as skateboarding and artistry. Photography, or social activities like video production. He might latch onto what interests him the most in the real world as opposed to video games. Maybe have a heart to heart about what he seems in the video games, or read about the games he’s latched onto to evaluate if they are healthy for him to be playing.
    He may grow out of the phase once he reaches college, he will branch out and find friends that encourage him to be outdoors more often.

  3. Hello Erica,

    I have a daughter who is 13, turning 14 soon and watched a lot of television growing up however, a lot of the stuff she watched was educational. She doesn’t have poor eating habits but she can definitely improve in her lunch selection. She pretty much behaves as a typical teen. She’s also engaged in sports and other curricular activities. We as parents have to be better examples and offer healthier alternatives.

    Perhaps you can register your son in a sport, go walking with him around the neighborhood, plan what you want to cook for the week and allow him to help you prepare the meals. We have to be more involved and not allow them to be upset when things are going their way. We are the parents and we set the rules. If he does like video games maybe look into a coding class so he’s learning and doing something he enjoys. Most importantly encourage him to be the best son he can be, teens have it tough. I hope this helps. Good luck!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.