Young TV addicts 'risk heart disease'

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The Independent Online
YOUNG children who spend too much time playing video games and watching television risk developing heart disease in later life, health campaigners warn today.

A new video, You Can . . . Prevent Heart Disease, produced by the Consumers' Association and the British Heart Foundation, gives advice on staying active and avoiding health risks as studies show today's young people are not so active as former generations.

'Watching television and playing computer games are taking over from more active pursuits such as cycling, kicking a ball about or playing in the park.

'A lack of exercise affects the development of the heart. Some British doctors predict that children who aren't active could end up with heart problems even worse than those of their parents,' David Dickinson, editor of Which? Way to Health said.

Professor Brian Pentecost, consultant medical director to the foundation, said: 'Regular exercise can really make a difference - a brisk walk or a gentle jog can clock up an amazing number of health bonus points.

'Getting started is what is important - the biggest reduction in heart deaths occur when we go from doing little or no exercise to doing some.

'Exercise shouldn't be seen as adopting a new way of life, but an extension of normal activity, doing what the body was designed to do.

'The body keeps using up calories even after you stop exercising - so if you are watching TV tonight, you'll still be keeping fit.'

To help prevent heart disease, the foundation advises people to:

Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and salads.

Eat meat and dairy products sparingly.

Eat less processed food.

Buy semi-skimmed milk.

Avoid exceeding the recommended daily units of alcohol: two for women, three for men.

The video is available from shops or by calling Freephone 0800 252100.

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