Monday, June 27, 2011

Screen Time Driving Youth Obesity Epidemic

Too much time parked in front of the television or computer screen is driving the epidemic of childhood obesity in the U.S., according to a new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

And it's not just that many teens are couch potatoes, the academy argues in the July issue of Pediatrics: TV advertising drives sales of junk food, children and teens tend to snack while watching TV or online, and late-night use may interfere with sleep.

"We've created a perfect storm" of conditions that predispose young people to obesity, said lead author Victor Strasburger, MD, of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M.

"We couldn't do a worse job as a society if we tried," he told MedPage Today.

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