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TV Portrayals of Smoking Influences Adults

Reduction of smoking instances on prime time TV associated with less adult smoking.

Kids tend to start smoking more often when they are exposed to tobacco advertising. Tobacco use on television also seems to influence adults. Researchers found as smoking was shown less on prime time TV from 1955 to 2010 (five smoking instances per hour to 0.29 per hour), U.S. adults smoked less. This reduction was half that attributed to raising cigarette taxes over the same period.

PositiveTip: Avoiding exposure to smoking (and other harmful habits) may reduce cravings and encourage positive change.

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Beware of Falling Televisions

The rate of injury from televisions tipping over has dramatically increased.

The rate of children under 18 requiring emergency treatment from falling televisions has increased by 95.3%, and in those younger than 5 the increase was 125.5% over the past 22 years. The rate of injuries from a TV falling from a dresser, chest of drawers or armoire increased by 344% in the same period. The authors suggest this may may be due to increases in the number of TVs per household, and the advent of the flat screen TV.

PositiveTip: Make sure your TVs are securely mounted to prevent tipping/falling injuries.

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TV Romance and Your Marriage

Where are you getting your marriage expectations?

If you believe that couples on TV are true to life, you will probably be less committed to your own marriage--and more likely to cheat on your spouse and not stick with your marriage. Researchers at Albion College surveyed 392 married individuals for their TV viewing habits, belief in how TV relationships are portrayed, along with expectations for their own relationships.

PositiveTip: The Bible counsel, "Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable" (Philippians 4:8, NLT) can help protect your marriage.

TV, Exercise and Depression

There are many studies that have demonstrated that the more you exercise the less likely you are to be depressed. A large study recently took a look at TV viewing and exercise in relationship to depression. 

The study followed nearly 50,000 nurses, ages 30-55, for a period of ten years. During this time they were periodically questioned regarding exercise levels, TV viewing, and the presence or absence of clinical depression. No one in this group was depressed at the beginning of the study. 

Depression was documented by a physician’s diagnosis of depression, the taking of anti-depressant medication, or depression diagnosed on a standardized questionnaire designed to pick up severe clinical depression. 

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'Screen-free' Reaffirmed by the AAP

Young children learn best from interactions with humans not TVs or computers.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a policy statement in 1999 that addressed only TV exposure by children younger than 2 years old. It has now updated this statement based on new evidence to include video programs and games. Key findings include the fact that evidence does not support the educational value of even educational video programs and heavy media exposure in this age group can delay language development.

PositiveTip: Unstructured play time and interaction with humans best facilitates creativity, problem-solving, reasoning and motor skills in toddlers.

Fixing Childhood Obesity

Graph of Prevalence of Obesity in Youth by TV Viewing

Today's children are likely to die younger than their parents will. Why? Because of the chronic diseases associated with obesity. Right now, 66% of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. And the kids are catching up -- 32% of children and teens (ages 2-19) are overweight or obese.

It doesn’t take much to get fat. For a growing child, just 100 extra calories a day (the calories in just one cookie a day), can result in obesity in only 3-4 years. The great amount of inactivity spent in front television, computer, and handheld screens is another part of the problem. This graph demonstrates the prevalence of obesity compared with the hours of TV viewing per day. 

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Sitting 4+ Hours A Day Can Be Deadly

Watching more than 4 hours of TV a day dramatically increases premature death.

A study of nearly 9000 Australians compared those who watched 2 hours or less of TV per day to those who watched more than 4 hours. Those watching the most had a 46% increased risk in death from all causes, and an 80% increased risk for death by cardiovascular disease. This connection stayed consistent even after adjusting for other independent risk factors.

PositiveTip: Too much sitting is bad for your health. Remember to get up and move more, and do it more often.

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TV Time Can Cut Life Short

Couch potatoes beware - every hour of TV time may increase your risk of dying early.

Researchers in Australia followed the lifestyle habits of almost 9000 adults for more than six years. They found that each hour of daily TV viewing was connected with an 11% increased risk for death from all causes, an 18% higher risk for cardiovascular deaths, and even a 9% increase in death from cancer.

PositiveTip: The human body was designed for activity and movement. Avoid sitting for extended periods of time for optimal health.

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One in Five Toddlers Has Their Own TV

Toddlers without TVs in their rooms experience more weekly outings and have lower risk of obesity.

The Centers for Disease Control and the Oregon Public Health Division has revealed that almost one in five two year olds has a television in their bedroom.

These children watch more than two hours of programming every day. Excessive exposure of infants to television is associated with impaired cognitive, language, and emotional development as well as impaired sleep schedules and increased risk of obesity. The study showed that infants without TVs in their rooms were much more likely to experience 4 or more outings away from home each week.

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Any House Rules on Media Make a Difference

Any media rules at home help reduce kids' media consumption by almost 3 hours per week.

Only about three in ten young people say they have rules about how much time they can spend watching TV (28%) or playing video games (30%), and 36% say the same about using the computer.

But when parents do set limits, children spend less time with media: those with any media rules consume nearly 3 hours less media per day than those with no rules.

PositiveTip: Set limits in your family about using media. It works!