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TV link to asthma

Thursday March 5th, 2009

Young children who spend hours glued to the television face a massively increased risk of going on to develop asthma, researchers report today.

A study of more than 3,000 children in the west of England found that those who had spent more than two hours a day of their early years in front of a screen faced a doubled risk of going on to develop the disease.

Researchers said lack of activity might affect the children's breathing patterns, affecting the development of their lungs.

The study, reported in the journal Thorax, found that of the children free of disease at the age of three, some six per cent were diagnosed with asthma by the time they were 12.

Researchers Dr Andrea Sherriff and Dr James Paton, of Glasgow University, Scotland, warn that the relationship between physical activity, sedentary behaviour and asthma is "complicated".

One possibility is that unfit children develop difficulty breathing and this is misdiagnosed as asthma. Another is that children in families with allergies might be confined indoors more than others - especially in the rural west of England.

Dr Sherriff and Dr Paton call for further study of the issue - as it might lead to programmes of physical exercise being developed for high risk families.

Thorax 2009 doi 10.1136/thx.2008.104406

Tags: UK News | Child Health | Allergies & Asthma

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