NEW DELHI, India: Americans are raising a generation of fat children and television contributes most to this trend, experts quoted in a UNICEF report say.

The findings of these experts are:

— The proportion of overweight children in the US has increased more than 50 per cent over the last 20 years — nearly one third of white matles in their preteen years are overweight — obesity increased by two per cent for each additional hour of TY viewed per week five years later in 2000 children studied.

The UNICEF report notes that Just year 18 million children participated in the “president’s challenge”, a series of exercises that measured strength, flexibility and endurance performed well enough to receive awards.

The experts say the way children in the U.S. are learning to thin may to a large extent be controlled by a handful of powerful but distant corporations whose primary motive is to make money rather than impart education

Recent research points to the adverse mental and physical effects television are having on children. Communication experts along with psychiatrists, church groups and parents are alarmed by what children are seeing and learning.

The experts note that by the time children are 18 they will have watched 15,000 hours of television and seen 350,000 advertisements.

In most homes in the US, the television is on from the moment a newborn arrives from the hospital, and between the age of two and 12, children spend an average of 25 hours a week watching T.V.

By the time they turn 18, they would have spent more time in front of the TV than a school. An official of the American Academy of Pediatrics said, “We have given kids something that not only doesn’t encourage them to do anything but something that actually discourages them from anything active.”

The experts say that 80 per cent of all children’s television program are produced for toy companies to help maximize their sales.

Article extracted from this publication >> February 19, 1988