Asthma risk to children who watch too much TV

Wednesday 4th March, 2009

British researchers have reported that children who watch over two hours of television per day are doubling their risk of developing asthma.

Asthma is the most common chronic child illness and the condition affects over 300 million people across the world. The condition is believed to account for 1 in 250 deaths per year due to people being obese and not carrying out any physical exercise. Asthma symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezes, coughs and a tight chest.

Researchers said that breathing patterns from sedentary behaviour may lead to lung changes and wheezing illnesses in children. Their study involved monitoring over 3,000 children from birth up to the age of 12.

Each year, parents were questioned about wheezing symptoms in their children and if their local GP had diagnosed asthma as their children got older. How much television the children watched was also analysed but computer games and internet use was not taken into consideration as these forms of entertainment were not as common through the 1990s.

6% of children aged around 12 years-old had no symptoms of asthma. Children who watched TV for more than two hours per day were found to be twice as likely to have an asthma diagnosis than those who watched less.

A spokesperson for asthma charity Asthma UK said that the findings added weight to the evidence of asthma being linked to a lack of exercise and obesity. They added that this study was the first to link sedentary behaviour at a young age to an asthma link later in childhood.



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