The National Institutes of Health and a nonprofit advocacy group, Common Sense Media, have another reason for President-elect Barack Obama to keep urging parents to "turn off the TV."
In what researchers call the first report of its kind, a review of 173 studies about the effects of media consumption on children asserts that a strong correlation exists between greater exposure and adverse health outcomes.
"Coach potato does, unfortunately, sum it up pretty well," said Ezekiel J. Emanuel, chairman of the bioethics department at the institutes' clinical center, one of the study's five reviewers.
The report should compel lawmakers to underwrite media education efforts and public service advertising campaigns and should motivate the entertainment industry to be more "responsible and responsive," said Jim Steyer, the chief executive of Common Sense Media, which helped to finance the study.
"The research is clear that exposure to media has a variety of negative health impacts on children and teens," he said.