8 July 2016
A new study from Australia has offered evidence that spending too much time watching TV can adversely affect children's bone health as they grow older.
Led by Curtin University and the University of Western Australia, the research involved 1,181 participants, whose hours of TV watching per week were recorded by parental or patient-provided reports at the ages of five, eight, ten, 14, 17 and 20.
At age 20, it was shown that those who consistently watched 14 hours or more of TV per week generally had lower bone mineral content than those who spent less time in front of the TV.
These trends persisted even after adjusting for height, body mass, physical activity, calcium intake, vitamin D levels, alcohol and smoking habits, underlining the negative impact prolonged sedentary behaviour can have on bone health.
The authors concluded: "Since attainment of optimal peak bone mass is protective against osteoporosis later in life, reducing sedentary time in children may have long-term skeletal benefits."
Currently, osteoporosis affects more than three million people in the UK, with more than 500,000 people receiving hospital treatment for fragility fractures as a consequence each year.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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