A study from Glasgow University has found that children who spend hours in front of the television are at greater risk of developing asthma than those who are more active.
Children who watch more than 2 hours of TV a day are twice as likely to get asthma as children who watch less. The greater risk of asthma was not directly caused by watching television, which was only used as an indicator of just how sedentary children’s lifestyles were.
The finding builds on recent work that suggests a link between asthma and low levels of physical activity. Some scientists believe inactive children do not inhale deeply and regularly enough, which helps to stretch the airways and make them less prone to asthma.
The study looked at the medical records of 14,000 children from birth until 11½. The study is published in Thorax, one of the world’s leading respiratory medicine journals, publishing clinical and experimental research articles on respiratory medicine.
Elaine Vickers, of the charity Asthma UK, said: “The findings add to a wealth of evidence linking a lack of exercise and being overweight with an increased risk of asthma, but this study is the first to directly link sedentary behaviour at a very young age to a higher risk of asthma later in childhood.
We have one of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the world so it is especially important that parents in the UK prise kids away from the TV and encourage them to lead an active lifestyle.