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Children, television and metabolism.

Dr. Robert Klesges, a psychologist at Memphis State University, found that when children watch TV, they lapse into an almost semiconscious state that is metabolically between resting and sleeping. Thus when they sit quietly for 25 minutes (without commercial breaks) to watch a show, their metabolic rate fails lower than it would if they just sat still without watching.

With a lower metabolic rate, children bum fewer calories watching television than they do when doing nothing, and the drop in calorie usage while watching TV is greater for children who are overweight than for normal-weight children.

In Klesges' study, children of normal weight had a metabolic drop 12% below their resting rate while watching a tape of "The Wonder Years;" the drop for obese children was 16% while watching. He stated, "Since we already know that obese kids watch a lot more TV than do normal-weight children, this drop in metabolic rate could be a major contributor to their obesity."

"Children today are watching over three hours of television a day and reading less than five pages a day. That is wrong," President Bush told a GOP dinner in Atlanta referring to the Department of Education's National Assessment of Educational Progress, published in May, 1992:

--62% of the fourth graders surveyed said they spent more than three hours a day in front of the television in 1990, down from 69% in 1988.

--64% of the 8th graders reported watching more than three hours daily, as did 40% of the 12th graders (down from 71% and 49%, respectively).

--One-third of 8th and 12th graders read fewer than five pages a day for school in 1990.

--Information from articles by Jane Brody (;4/5/92) and Tamata Henry (5/28/92), in The Ann Arbor News.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Special Delivery
Date:Sep 22, 1992
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