TV-time link to weak bones

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Com­mu­ni­tynews .com.au

SCREEN time may be do­ing more harm to chil­dren than pre­vi­ously thought, af­ter re­searchers at Curtin Univer­sity found idle chil­dren had weaker and poorer bones in young adult­hood than their ac­tive coun­ter­parts.

A study of 1181 young adults over their child­hood and ado­les­cence found that by age 20, those who had heavy view­ing habits had weaker bones.

Lead re­searcher Joanne McVeigh said the more than 40 per cent of study par­tic­i­pants that watched more than 14 hours of television a week, from ages five to 17, had be­tween 3 and 7 per cent less bone mass at age 20 com­pared to those who watched less television.

“This re­la­tion­ship re­mained even af­ter we con­sid­ered phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, cal­cium in­take, Vi­ta­min D sta­tus and smok­ing, which are all known con­trib­u­tors to bone health,” Dr McVeigh said.

The re­search fur­ther sug­gested less TV watch­ing was also likely to off­set other neg­a­tive im­pacts, such as obesity, as more time can be spent be­ing phys­i­cally ac­tive.

“Pre­vi­ous re­search has found TV watch­ing has been linked with poorer food choices and drink­ing too many sugar sweet­ened bev­er­ages, which is not good for bone health,” Dr McVeigh said.

“It is clearly im­por­tant that chil­dren should de­velop good TV view­ing habits as our study demon­strates that this sets them up for good bone health in later life.

“We would en­cour­age a re­duc­tion in TV watch­ing time and other screen time and pro­mote ac­tiv­i­ties which en­cour­age peo­ple to be phys­i­cally ac­tive and build the strong­est bones pos­si­ble by young adult­hood.”

Pre­vi­ous re­search has demon­strated the poorer the bone health in young adult­hood, the greater the risk for os­teo­porotic frac­ture in later life. Frac­tures are as­so­ci­ated with sig­nif­i­cant mor­bid­ity, mor­tal­ity, loss of in­de­pen­dence and fi­nan­cial bur­den.

“Around one in five peo­ple aged 65 and over will die within a year of frac­tur­ing their hip, so poor bone health is very danger­ous in later life,” Dr McVeigh said.

“Given we start to lose bone around the age of 30, young adult­hood is a re­ally im­por­tant time to make sure our bones are as strong as pos­si­ble to off­set later loss.”

Too much TV leads to weak bones.

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