The study of 1,300 children by the Universities of Michigan and Montreal, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, which was part of the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development Main Exposure, found that the negative effects on older children rose with every hour of television watched in early childhood. Children who watched more television performed less well at school and also consumed more junk food.
Parents were asked how much television their child watched at 29 months and at 53 months.When they reached the age of ten, their body mass index was measured and their teachers were asked to assess their academic performance, behaviour and health.
Higher levels of television viewing at two were linked to a lower level of engagement in the classroom, poor achievement in maths, and a decrease in physical activity.
Liz Attenborough, manager at the National Literacy Trust, said, 'The reality is that television is not going away, and so parents need to make choices and decisions. Parents should watch television with their children and then talk about it, rather than leave the television on in the background, and they should be aware of what too much television can do.'