Tuesday, September 04, 2007

TV linked to ADD?

You're probably aware of the links that have been made between television (image credit) and a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and diabetes. Now, there is new data stating that children who watch 2-3 hours of TV a day - early in life - may lead to attention problems later in life. (Reuters)
The link was established by a long-term study of the habits and behaviors of more than 1,000 children born in Dunedin, New Zealand, between April 1972 and March 1973.

The children aged 5 to 11 watched an average of 2.05 hours of weekday television. From age 13 to 15, time spent in front of the tube rose to an average of 3.1 hours a day.

"Those who watched more than two hours, and particularly those who watched more than three hours, of television per day during childhood had above-average symptoms of attention problems in adolescence," Carl Landhuis of the University of Otago in Dunedin wrote in his report, published in the journal Pediatrics.
Personally, I find this study interesting because I was born around the time frame in which this study was done. Can I draw any conclusions to my own life or the lives of my peers growing up? Hmmmmmm.....

Now, I do admit that I probably watched the same amount of television at the study participants (does video game playing count in that number?). Here is one of the theories reviewed in the article for this association.
One was that the rapid scene changes common to many TV programs may overstimulate the developing brain of a young child, and could make reality seem boring by comparison.

"Hence, children who watch a lot of television may become less tolerant of slower-paced and more mundane tasks, such as school work," [Landhuis] wrote.

It was also possible that TV viewing may supplant other activities that promote concentration, such as reading, games, sports and play, [Landhuis] said. The lack of participation inherent in TV watching might also condition children when it comes to other activities.

The study was not proof that TV viewing causes attention problems, Landhuis said, because it may be that children prone to attention problems may be drawn to watching television.
Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is so multifactorial, it's very difficult to pin one thing down as THE cause. However, I do admit that sometimes I "become less tolerant of slower-paced and more mundane tasks." Maybe I should watch less television and, say, blog more. What you do think?


Anonymous said...

Very interesting study!

Awesome Mom said...

I think our whole society is less tolerant of slow paced mundane activities. I actually like to take it down a notch now and then since slow paced mundane activities give me a chance to mull things over that are on my mind.

Anonymous said...

I watch TV while blogging (and/or doing other stuff at my PC). Doesn't that just make me an eficient multitasker? ;)

Your Mother said...

It's interesting to think how TV and now the Internet is changing our brains (if it even is). In the old days, we read a book. Now we read snatches of things on the Internet, with a complex web of links from one topic to another. What effect does this have on our thinking?

I think blogging is a TV substitute. You are giving up one multimedia addiction for another, my friend!

SeaSpray said...

Ooooh...I want that aqua TV! :)

When my children were little I was good at limiting their viewing but as the got older I admit to letting them watch too much. And video games? We won't go there. :)

I opt to blog over watching TV I am not a huge TV watcher anyway. I like it but I don't see any daytime TV, not even Oprah but I do have to have my Grey's anatomy fix. ;) And a few other shows.

One negative about blogging - I am not devouring books like I used too.

Dr A I hope you don't mind that I mentioned and plugged you in my recent post. I am thrilled that I got to hear your show tonight. Great job! I mentioned you too Mother Jones and hope that is o.k. and you were great too. I also blogrolled you. :)

Anonymous said...

School is boring, outdated, antiquated even. No wonder our bright kids can't sit still! It's not TV, it's not ADHD, it's the SCHOOL SYSTEM ITSELF!!!

Our schools have no relevance to the real world and workplace. No wonder US graduates are nowhere near the top of the heap when they graduate.