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Study Finds U.S. Children Watch Too Much TV

Most spend three hours per day in front of TV; parents cite barriers to enforcing lower limit

MONDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Children are watching more television than the two hours a day maximum currently recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, according to a report in the November issue of Pediatrics. The average child in the study watched three hours of TV a day and households had an average of four TV sets, often in the kitchen, dining room or child's bedroom.

Amy B. Jordan, Ph.D., of the Annenberg Public Policy Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues interviewed 180 parents with children aged 6 to 13 years and gathered information about TV use and household TV inventories.

The investigators found that most children spend about three hours per day watching TV. The average home was found to have four TV sets, and nearly half had TVs located in the kitchen or dining room and about two-thirds had TVs in children's bedrooms. Parent-reported barriers to enforcing the two-hour limit were use of TV as a safe and affordable distraction that has become part of a daily routine and the parents' own TV-watching habits.

"Although we identified major barriers perceived by parents and children to reducing children's television viewing time within this diverse but non-random sample, the group discussions also identified potential strategies that could be suggested to parents to incrementally reduce the time that their children spend watching television," the authors conclude.

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