Too much TV narrows eye arteries, heightens health risks

Six-year-old children who watch a lot of television develop narrower arteries in their eyes, heightening the risk of adult health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease, a world-first study has shown.

The research, conducted by scientists at the University of Sydney, studied 1500 Sydney children and determined that those who did more exercise had wider eye arteries than the more sedentary children. Narrow eye blood vessels are a marker for future health problems.

“Parents need to get their children up and moving and off the couch,"said Dr Bamini Gopinath, lead author and senior research fellow at the University of Sydney’s Centre for Vision Research.

Replacing just one hour of TV time a day with active play could reduce the health risks associated with narrow eye arteries, he said.

"Excessive screen time leads to less physical activity, unhealthy dietary habits and weight gain,” Dr Gopinath said. “Free play should be promoted and schools should have a mandatory two hours a week in physical activity for children.”

Read more at University of Sydney