Kids who watch a lot of TV unlikely to be athletic

Rene Lynch / Los Angeles Times /


Published Jul 26, 2012 at 05:00AM / Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:31AM

Too much TV may do more than interfere with a child’s grades, it also might affect his or her athletic development — a potential problem for those parents who dream of raising the next Michael Phelps or Serena Williams.

A study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity is believed to be the first to document the relationship between how much TV screen time a child logs and later explosive leg strength — a key indicator of athletic prowess.

The other key finding, while significant, is perhaps less surprising: Kids who watch more TV early in life were likely to have wider waist measurements down the road, an indication that the lack of activity was putting young children on a path toward obesity.

“Watching more television in early childhood forecasted lesser performance on a test of explosive muscular strength in later childhood. . . . This suggests that for some children, excessive television exposure was associated with the experience of a substantial level of impairment,” the study found.