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Early Television Exposure Linked to Childhood Asthma

Young children who watch more than two hours per day may have doubled risk by age 11

FRIDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- In early childhood, increased television viewing is associated with a higher risk of developing asthma in later childhood, according to the results of a study published online March 13 in Thorax.

Andrea Sherriff, of the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom, and colleagues studied 3,065 children enrolled in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, who had no wheeze up to age 3.5 years and were followed up to age 11.5 years.

The investigators found that 185 (6 percent) of the children developed asthma. Television viewing of more than two hours per day at age 3.5 years was associated with an almost doubled risk of subsequent asthma compared with television viewing of one to two hours per day (adjusted odds ratio, 1.8), the researchers report.

"This relationship was not gender-specific, was not modified by body mass and was independent of current sedentary behavior at 11 years of age," the authors conclude. "Although physical training interventions have been studied in the management of established asthma symptoms, the role of habitual physical activity levels in the inception and natural history of asthma in children deserves further study."

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