Excessive TV watching in childhood can result in smoking, gambling later in life

WELLINGTON: According to a recent study, Excessive television viewing as a child can lead to a higher risk of smoking and gambling disorders in adulthood.

The researchers' follow-up data from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study  and investigated how television viewing in childhood was related to the risk of having a substance use disorder or disordered gambling in adulthood, according to the University of Otago, New Zealand.

"Excessive TV viewing during leisure time between the ages of 5 and 15 may contribute to the development of later diseases," says Dr. Helena McAnally, the study's author. According to this research, watching television for some individuals may be an early sign of an addictive condition or it may set the stage for subsequent substance-related and other addictive disorders, said McAnally.

The study finds, the connections between gambling and tobacco use were unrelated to other factors that might affect these outcomes, such as sex, socioeconomic position, and tests of children's self-control.

"Excessive leisure time TV watching in childhood and adolescence has been associated with a range of poorer adult health and well-being results, but to our knowledge, this research is among the first to assess how a common, but potentially addictive behaviour, such as TV viewing is related to later substance disorder and disordered gambling," said co-author Professor Bob Hancox.

"The study highlights the potential need for guidance on digital health and health," Hancox added.

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