Do Bermudians watch too much TV?

Whether it’s the latest British crime drama or a marathon session of Friends reruns, people watch a lot of TV. In Bermuda especially, inactivity from watching TV is directly linked to negative health, particularly obesity. Did you know:  

  • 49 per cent of Bermuda teens report spending three or more hours per day watching TV  

  • By the time a child reaches 18 years of age he will have spent 18,000 hours in front of the TV— compared with 12,000 hours in the classroom  

  • Studies indicate that the risk of being overweight increases between 1 to 2 per cent for each hour of TV a student watches a day  

  • An overweight child’s chance of weight loss is reduced by 6 per cent for each extra hour of TV he watches a day  

  • Among adults the incidence of weight gain is four times greater for those who watch three more hours of TV a day, compared to those who watch one hour or less  

  • Recent studies indicate that children and adults who watch three or more hours of TV a day are more likely to have elevated blood cholesterol levels than individuals who watch 1 hour or less  

  • Watching TV can result in lack of sleep  

  • On average, adolescents who spend over five hours a day watching TV have lower test scores than other teens  

What can parents do if their children watch too much TV?  

Parents can help their children stay healthy by enforcing good television habits. Some tips to help your kids (and maybe improve your own health at the same time): 

  • Set limits. Limit viewing to 1 to 2 hours a day, to start with. This will also limit your own TV time.  

  • Watch TV with your child and discuss the programmes together. A programme may help you to discuss difficult topics like love, sex, and family life that you might not raise otherwise.  

  • Don’t put a TV in your child’s room. You will have no control over what they watch or how much time your child spends watching TV. It may also interfere with the amount of sleep your child gets.  

  • Don’t use TV as a child minder. Help your child develop more active leisure time pursuits other than passive TV watching.