A new international study has uncovered a direct link between the TV viewing habits of toddlers and their health in later childhood.
In a survey published by the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, each weekly hour of TV at two years of age was associated with an increased waist circumference by the age of 10.
According to lead researcher from the University of Montreal Linda Pagani, almost 15 per cent of those studied were exposed to more than 18 hours of TV a week – resulting in almost a whole centimetre in additional waist measurements.
"The bottom line is that watching too much television – beyond recommended amounts – is not good," Dr Pagani told the Press Association today (July 16).
"These findings support clinical suspicions that more screen time in general contributes to the rise in excess weight in our population."
Families may be able to learn more about introducing a healthy lifestyle by accessing advice and resources from dietitians and experts through some private health insurance providers.
The news comes after a survey by the Women's and Children's Health Research Institute in Adelaide discovered approximately 95 per cent of Australian children aged two to five exceeded the daily maximum recommended intake of saturated fat.