Excessive TV watching causes weight gain in Pakistani children too
By: Yasir Ilyas
Excessive watching of television leads to consumption of junk food and decrease in physical activity that cause weight gain and other diseases in watchers, especially children, interviews with Pakistani families confirmed results of global research report.
INFN conducted interviews here to testify the result of the study conducted by Dr Jean Wiecha say excessive television viewing itself is a health risk. The report suggests that watching TV encourages children to eat more junk food, particularly the soft drinks and French fries.
In the global research, 550 children of age group ranging between 11 to 13 years were taken as sample; it was found that Watching TV promotes trend of intake of food, preferring sofa-bound life style and avoiding exercise and physical activities.
The children were kept under observation by the researcher and she found that with every passing day, children are taking 167 calories more. The researcher considered advertisement of different junk foods as a major contributing factor.
In the light of this research report, INFN contacted a few mothers and children of almost same age group to testify the affects of the report in Pakistani perspective. It was found that results here were not much different as found in the United States.
Tahira Hanif, a mother said, “My children, who are students of grade five and seven spend almost four to six hours in front of TV and if I include the time they spend on computer as well, it exceeds almost 10 hours a day. And I have noticed that they consume a huge amount of potato chips and soft drinks and I felt they have put on a lot of weight as well,” said Tahira.
Hoorain Ali, a student of grade six in a school of capital said that though she doesn’t consume much time in front of TV and computer but even then she is gaining weight as she doesn’t have any outdoor activity. She considers that viewing TV much stops one to go to play grounds and this could be one of the reasons of putting on weight by watching TV. “I agree with the findings of the report.” Hoorain said.
Report also suggests that Viewing TV has become an alternative of physical games in the playgrounds as a source of entertainment.
Two brothers, Abdul Noor, 12, and Abdul Qadir, 13 use to play football barefooted as they do not have a television entertainment at the boarding school and no junk food. “With no TV and potato chips, we have only entertainment of playing football that keeps up healthy and fit with good stamina,” said the students of a religious school, hailing from Bajore Agency.
Dr. Nida Rehman, a general physician in the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) said the findings of the report, published in USA are right but the socio-economic status of children matters a lot. “Merely watching TV is not the only source of putting on weight, but consuming different junk foods and soft drinks during the time of watching, killing all the time in front of TV and not having any physical activity, and adopting sofa-bound lifestyle are the contributing factors as well. Otherwise Watching TV could have other health hazards includes eye-sight problems, headache and other mental as well as physical diseases.” Dr. Nida said. She said parents should have a check on the timings of TV watching by their children.—