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The risk of spending too much time in front of the TV

Did you know that too much screen time can be just as bad as smoking, drinking or even taking drugs1? It was recently reported that in some cases children who spend more than two hours a day in front of a TV or computer screen can develop higher blood pressure2. The study involving over 5,000 children found that one in ten could be at major risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in later life such as ischemic heart disease3.

How long is too long?

Countries such as Taiwan have even made it a legal obligation for parents to monitor the amount of time their child is spending in front of a television or computer screen, with failure to do so resulting in a hefty fine1. Although some may see this as a drastic strategy to take it could be a good idea to take from Taiwan’s example and limit the amount of time your child is spending in front of a screen.

Web MD4 advises trying the following when reducing your child’s screen time:

- You don’t need to go cold turkey – Gradually change the amount of time they are allowed to watch TV or use the computer. If your children watch hours of TV daily or they are familiar with it being on constantly in the background, you could try cutting it down by an hour each week.

- Unplug their room – Having a TV in your child’s room can interfere with their sleep by making he/she wired at night and tired during the day. This can also lead to them overeating and more sedentary behaviour such as spending too much time sitting down, which according to NHS Choices5 can be equally as bad for your health.  

As a parent you may be concerned about your child’s health which is why our new product Health For You is designed to support you and your family throughout your life journey. Health For You can be tailored to suit your needs and as part of this we can look to cover your child as well. Under our core cover option you and your child as policyholders could benefit from the following:

- Free cover for newborns (until your next renewal)

- Treatment of medical conditions that arise during pregnancy or childbirth

- Ambulance Transport – If the worse was to happen have peace in mind that we will look to cover you for the ambulance transport that you may require.

- Parental Hospital Accommodation (for a child up to and including the age of 16) – Be safe in the knowledge that you can be close to your child or children whilst they are in hospital. 

Visit our health insurance cover options page to find out more about our various levels of cover.

Sources:

  1. http://time.com/3682621/this-country-just-made-it-illegal-to-give-kids-too-much-screen-time/
  2. http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/02February/Pages/Over-two-hours-screen-time-a-day-may-raise-a-childs-blood-pressure.aspx
  3. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11435628/Children-who-watch-TV-for-more-than-two-hours-a-day-at-greater-risk-of-high-blood-pressure.html 
  4. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/raising-fit-kids/recharge/kids-screen-time
  5. http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/fitness/pages/sitting-and-sedentary-behaviour-are-bad-for-your-health.aspx   
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