Thursday, August 6, 2009

TV & High Blood Pressure

FROM CNN: There's a startling new connection between how much TV kids watch and their blood pressure and it's not just overweight kids. Researchers followed kids between the ages of 3 and 9 years-old-about 100 kids-for a period of time trying to figure out what was going on-what was making their blood pressure increase. They found kids who watched more than 30 minutes of TV a day-which isn't much-saw an increase in blood pressure of about 6-7 points. When they tried to figure out exactly why that was, a couple things emerged. One was what kids tended to eat while they were watching television. Poor choices in food-high calorie food, low nutrition food-frankly wasn't good for them. The other thing was that the television watching often interferes with their sleep. We know that lack of sleep or poor sleep can also be associated with high blood pressure. So is a 6-7 point change in blood pressure in kids a big deal? Dr. Sanjay Gupta says we don't know for sure because we're not used to monitoring blood pressure in kids that young. What we do know is that kids with hypertension-even low levels-as children tend to become hypertension adults. We are starting to see evidence of thickening of arteries in 8-year-olds similar to what we used to see in 5-year-olds.

I wish I could say my kids watch less than a half hour of TV of day, but that's just not true. They usually don't eat while they watch TV though. Well, sometimes I will leave the TV on while they eat breakfast/lunch, but it's not junk food. We already have major sleep issues with my almost 6-year-old. We have ruled out the TV. We tried leaving it off for a week or so (that was hard.) It had no impact on his sleep problems. So I guess I am not that worried about it at this point. I will just try harder to limit TV watching. It will be a lot easier to do that when school starts in just a week and a half! I can hardly believe it!

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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