Children Addicted to TV Run Higher Risk of Spinal Problems

An article in the November 8, 2004 edition of the “Daily Record” from Glasgow in the United Kingdom, reports on a study showing that children who watch TV for large amounts of time are more likely to suffer spinal problems and pain.

The study conducted by the British Chiropractic Association, looked at 200 secondary school aged children. They found that boys spent an average of 41 hours in front of the TV (or video game) per week while girls spent only 21 hours. The article notes that one quarter of them are lying down with their heads up placing extra tension on the neck and upper back areas. The article also notes that heavy backpacks seem to additionally contribute to the problem.

The article explains that the additional time in a non-active posture does not permit the spine to strengthen during the years of development, which last up till around age 18. Dr. Chris Turner, a chiropractor in West London, said: “The major factors in children’s back problems are a more sedentary way of life and lack of exercise.” He continued, “This means their muscles do not work very well and leads to strains when they are used, especially for carrying relatively heavy weights, including school bags.”

The research also noted that 44% of children with school bags do not use both straps and instead carry the bags unevenly with only one strap. Dr. Scott Miller, the chiropractor who led the research, explained by saying: “Children’s bones are soft up to the age of 18. Discs in the spine are stronger than the bones and so deform if you keep carrying weight on one side.” He added, “Because many children lead sedentary lives, the bones aren’t getting the exercise they need to get strong. Then they are subjected to the horrendous weight of school bags, so the spine distorts.”