Limiting screen time for infants cut diseases in adulthood

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Health

Monday, April 29,2019

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised an alarm over the harmful effects of electronic screens in children under five years old, saying infants under one year old should not be exposed to them as well. In a similar vein, the WHO cautioned that children between the ages of two and four should not have more than one hour screen time.

To this end, limiting, and in some cases eliminating, screen time for children under the age of five would result in healthier adults, the WHO stressed. The world body however recommended that children under five should get more exercise and sleep in order to develop better habits that would prevent obesity and diseases in adolescence and adulthood.

The researchers affirmed said taking away iPads and other electronic devices was only part of the solution. Reacting to the development, Dr. Fiona Bull who led a team of experts who developed the guidelines, said, “Improving physical activity, reducing sedentary time and ensuring quality sleep in young children will improve their physical, mental health and well-being and help prevent childhood obesity and associated diseases later in life.” Bull is the programme manager for surveillance and population-based prevention of non-communicable diseases at the W.H.O..

The researchers also recommended that children under five should not be restrained in strollers or high chairs or strapped to a caregiver’s back for more than one hour at a time. And children between the ages of one and five should get three hours of physical activity per day, and get at least 10 hours of sleep per night. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the directorgeneral of the W.H.O, said, “Achieving health for all means doing what is best for health right from the beginning of people’s lives. “Early childhood is a period of rapid development and a time when family lifestyle patterns can be adapted to boost health gains.” According to the W.H.O., the number of obese people worldwide has nearly tripled since 1974. Instances of childhood obesity, once considered a scourge of wealthy nations, were increasing dramatically in low- and middle-income countries, especially those in Africa and Asia.

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