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Hartford – How much time does the average American spend watching television? Four hours per day for young children and 29-34 hours per week for adults, according to TV-Turnoff Network, a nonprofit organization that encourages children and adults to watch much less television in order to promote healthier lives and communities.

Studies have shown that an increase in sedentary behavior contributes to an increase in obesity and the risk for developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and hypertension. Television viewing also increases aggressive behavior in children. Children who watch television for 10 hours or more per week are less skilled at reading and are less successful in school.

When children watch television, they view many advertisements for unhealthy foods such as sugary cereals and soft drinks and, hence, influence their parents to purchase these products. Children under the age of 8 will view on average 4,427 food advertisements per year, children ages 8-12 will view on average 7,609 food advertisements per year, and teens (ages 13-17) will view 6,098 food advertisements per year.

Children also view television public service announcements (PSA) on improving fitness and nutrition, but the success of these advertisements is limited because of infrequent exposure. Children under the age of 8 view approximately one PSA on fitness or nutrition for every 27 food advertisements, children ages 8 -12 view approximately one PSA for every 48 food advertisements, and teens view approximately one PSA for every 130 food advertisements. In the course of a year, children spend more time in front of a television than in school. The purpose of Turn off the TV Week is to encourage families to take an extended break from using multimedia as a form of entertainment and to use time normally spent in front of a screen to explore fun alternative activities.

For more information on Turn off the TV Week, additional facts and figures, please visit http://www.tvturnoff.org.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state.

To contact the department, please visit its website at www.dph.state.ct.us or call (860) 509-7270.
 

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