Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most common child psychiatric disorder in Europe and the United States of America, affecting 3 – 10% of primary school children. The disorder consists of a persistent pattern of inattentiveness, impulsiveness and/or hyperactivity that is inconsistent with the child’s developmental level. The disorder is generally more prevalent in males.
Two studies conducted in South Africa have concluded that the prevalence and sex ratios of ADHD in the Limpopo Province of South Africa are very similar to those reported in Western countries. Researchers claim that the findings suggest ADHD is caused by the same fundamental neuro-biological processes, probably caused by genetic factors expressed independently of cultural differences. However, cultural differences do affect the performance on neuro-psychological measures. The reason may be that cultural factors are important determinants of child rearing practices which may affect the brain’s organization of cognition, resulting in an inability to control behavior.
The inability to inhibit behavioral responses results in high risk practices like drug and alcohol abuse, tobacco smoking, premarital and promiscuous sex, driving anger and traffic offenses, accident proneness, compulsive buying, tattooing and body piercing.
Researchers at the Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle, along with scores of other doctors and researchers have now found a correlation between ADHD and urban lifestyles and child-rearing practices. They found that for each hour of TV a child watches, there is a 10% increase in the risk of ADHD..
Why? Possibly because TV gets kids accustomed to a level of stimulation that is much higher than they would experience in life. Combine this with the rapid changing of images characteristic of children's programming, and you've set kids up to be ill-suited to deal with school, homework, concentration, reading, and real life in general. Three recent studies show that as TV viewing increases, academic performance decreases.
Before formal schooling even begins, however, the damage of TV viewing is well underway. A 1996 study found that exposure to television causes delayed acquisition in toddlers. That's why the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children under the age of two be kept away from TV altogether.
Another research also claims children who watch more than two hours of television each day have a higher risk of asthma. The study tracked respiratory function of 3,000 children from birth to 11.5 years of age. Starting at age 3.5, parents were asked to describe their child’s respiratory health and if they manifested any symptoms, such as wheezing, or if they had been diagnosed with asthma. Data revealed that children watching two or more hours of TV each day were twice as likely have asthma. TV watching is also associated with obesity.
TV turnoff week is observed during April of each year. The challenge is to abstain from any TV viewing for an entire week. So, mark your calendars and take up the challenge. Reducing ADHD could have significant impact on decreasing high risk behavior among young people. So get the kids out of the house this April and see if you can begin to cut back on TV time from one month to the next. They might not love it the first time but they will thank you for it – some day!
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 April 2011 21:27
Written by Deuce