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U.S. Children Exposed to About Four Hours Background TV a Day

Last Updated: October 01, 2012.

On average, children in the United States are exposed to nearly four hours of background television per day, with younger children and African-American children having even higher exposure, according to a study published online Oct. 1 in Pediatrics.

MONDAY, Oct. 1 (HealthDay News) -- On average, children in the United States are exposed to nearly four hours of background television per day, with younger children and African-American children having even higher exposure, according to a study published online Oct. 1 in Pediatrics.

In an effort to determine the amount of background television children are exposed to as well as factors associated with this exposure, Matthew A. Lapierre, of the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, and colleagues conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,454 parents/caregivers with a child between the ages of 8 months and 8 years.

The researchers found that, on average, U.S. children were exposed to 232.2 minutes of background television per day. Younger children under the age of 2 years and African-American children had 42 and 45 percent higher exposure to background television, respectively. This high exposure was generally attributed to leaving televisions on without anyone viewing a program or when children had control of televisions in their bedrooms.

"Research on background television exposure suggests that its prevalence in young children's everyday life is concerning and warrants further study," the authors write. "Future research should investigate whether and how differing content types of background television affect children."

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