Humans at all stages of life need to sleep, and they need to play. Getting too little sleep and spending too much time in front of the television may be making even our toddlers fat, according to a new Harvard Medical School study.
"Up to the age of 3, infants and toddlers need about 12 hours of sleep each day. Children who dont get 12 hours sleep a day are twice as prone to be overweight by the age of 3 than children who get enough sleep," Med Headlines reports. "When excessive TV time is added to the sleep deprivation, 3-year-old toddlers have a 16% chance of being overweight. An excessive amount of television for this age group is identified as two or more hours, for the purpose of this study."
Parents, even those with the most lofty intentions, know what a respite an hour or two of television can mean. Knowing the consequences of too-much television might prompt parents to find alternatives. One possibility: Break the television habit by instilling a nature habit.
"Nature Deficit Disorder" is a term coined to describe the growing distance most Americans have with the natural environment. Besides limiting the sense of wonder that we often feel for natural beauty and wildlife, this separation makes it less likely that Americans will fight to preserve wild places in the future.
Besides, as children grow up, an affection for the outdoors that rivals any ties with television will help them keep slim for years to come.
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