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Prancer
08-10-2011, 08:24 PM
However, the study to which I linked (and others, which you can find for yourself) indicate that television-watching, especially for more than two hours a day, makes a significant difference in people's weight.

Correlation is not causation, particularly when heavily weighted with qualifiers.

As of now, the exact cause, if there is a single cause, of obesity is hotly debated among researchers. Obesity is skyrocketing worldwide, even in developing countries where people don't generally have televisions.

So it's one thing to say that reducing television watching time correlates with weight loss, quite another to claim that watching television causes obesity.


I have no idea whether, overall, American children today read more or less than their counterparts did sixty-odd years ago, but clearly children back then found ways to entertain themselves, and many of those ways, such as sports and games, involved substantially more physical exercise than do watching television or using a computer.

Sixty five years ago, it was 1946, and World War II had just ended. Food had been relatively scarce for several years. Most American children lived on farms, which means they worked very hard, as did the adults, who were also thinner back then. Many teenagers went to work in factories very young right about then, as their fathers were dead or disabled and they needed to bring in a paycheck.

It would be pretty surprising if the obesity rates weren't different then, don't you think?

Karina1974
08-10-2011, 08:31 PM
.
There was no tv


In the 1940's? There most certainly was TV, it was just extremely limited in availability. The oldest TV station in the US was first created in 1929 by General Electric in Schenectady, NY (also the birthplace of the first commercial radio station, WGY, also still in existance) and it still exists today.

skatingfan5
08-10-2011, 08:38 PM
I think that the causes of the current rising obesity levels are a result of multiple factors, of which TV viewing could be one. I do have to wonder about one of Prancer's statements, though.
Sixty five years ago, it was 1946, and World War II had just ended. Food had been relatively scarce for several years. Most American children lived on farms, which means they worked very hard, as did the adults, who were also thinner back then. I don't think that had been the case since sometime in the 19th century. Even before WWI, barely 1/3 of the population lived on farms -- by 1940 it was down to less than 1/4, and by 1950, it was less than 1 in 6. But folks, children as well as adults, were much more physically active then, without question.

Jenny
08-10-2011, 08:39 PM
So it's one thing to say that reducing television watching time correlates with weight loss, quite another to claim that watching television causes obesity.


Good point - I think I have been flipping and flopping the two myself.

Further thought on this - and yes it pertains to reading too! - I do think there's a need/hope in western society for simple answers to tough problems, and to laying blame anywhere but ourselves. Evil television, evil food companies, evil advertisers etc. In fact I think most know that the real issue is that many of us eat too much or eat badly, and don't exercise enough. Facing that, and then doing something about it, is a lot harder than blaming someone else and finding a "magic pill" that will solve everything.


In the 1940's? There most certainly was TV, it was just extremely limited in availability. The oldest TV station in the US was first created in 1929 by General Electric in Schenectady, NY (also the birthplace of the first commercial radio station, WGY, also still in existance) and it still exists today.

I know that - perhaps I should have said "most people didn't have access to tv on a regular basis" but I figured most people would understand what I meant.

Vagabond
08-10-2011, 08:43 PM
Most American children lived on farms

No, they didn't. Without doing much investigation, I found this (http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib3/eib3.htm):


In 1945, 16 percent of the total labor force in the United States. employed in agriculture

Even though there isn't a direct correlation between percentage of the labor force employed in agriculture and the percentage of children living on farms, it's clear that most American children didn't live on farms in the mid- to late 1940's.


Many teenagers went to work in factories very young right about then, as their fathers were dead or disabled and they needed to bring in a paycheck.

Not all that many, at least not if they were "very young" teenagers. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Labor_Standards_Act) had placed severe limits on child labor.

Let's face it, there have been a lot of changes that have affected the weight and fitness of American children since the end of World War II. But to suppose that the social conditions of the late 1940's were similar to those of the period just after the Civil War or World War I or even during the Depression would be to ignore reality.

Now if someone want to show me studies indicating the benefits to children (or adults) from time spent watching television instead of reading, I'm all ears eyes.

agalisgv
08-10-2011, 09:02 PM
Is it possible that your son is being passive/aggressive? Does he resent being told that he watches too much tv? Nah, he fully embraces his overuse of screen time. He didn't care for the tv service being cut though (and offered to rent himself out to any relative with cable tv). He's actually quite happy reading and said he doesn't really miss the tv. To be fair, they both can still play video games and remain avid gamers.

My hope was by reading more, their vocabs would improve as would their writing. I should say they're both A students. But my youngest is so good in math, I worry about his language arts skills getting left behind. I was hoping reading more would assist that.

Now, I do want to confess that I haven't been pushing the classics wrt reading materials. We're probably pretty lowbrow relative to others here. I was going for pleasure reading above grade level. And again, he really took to that--I just don't know how much if any benefit accrued bc of it.
IIRC, agalisgv's kids are nowhere near obese. Alas, tis true. I think my son's last bmi calculation placed him below the 1 percentile. I've given up hope on that front.

I took vagabond's post as more a general discussion point that tv waching may be connected with higher obesity levels, and that could be a point against it. Course for my family that would be a point in favor of the tv, but no matter :shuffle:.

Speaking of correlation v causation, I'm curious what people think wrt reading. Does reading more help students do better in school, or is it that kids who typically do better in school just so happen to like to read? Do kids who read more generally do better in school? I'm wondering if I've just assumed reading and better educational outcomes go together, or if there's really something there.

Jenny
08-10-2011, 09:10 PM
Second, he's much less sociable. He's off in his own little world, and no one can really share it with him unless they've already read the book. He finds it tiresome to have to explain it to others, so we miss out on a lot of interaction.

Just thinking about this and was about to suggest that you read the books too so you can talk about them together without him having to "explain" (although perhaps you were hoping he'd discuss books with other kids?).

Anyway, with all this talk about how books can be escapes/personal worlds, it's perhaps better not to read them as well or expect a lot of discussion. His views on what he's reading might be too personal to share, and therefore he'd rather not talk about the book at all.



Speaking of correlation v causation, I'm curious what people think wrt reading. Does reading more help sudents do better in school, or is it kids who typically do better in school just so happen to like to read? Do kids who read more generally do better in school? I'm wondering if I've just assumed reading and better educational outcomes go together, or if there's really something there.

Good question, and I'll add another one to it. Is *what* kids read a factor? Do kids who read certain types of books do better in school? Or do kids who do better in school like to read certain types of books?

I'm sure I'm not alone in the broad variety of books I was reading from about age 10 onward (or whenever kids start getting into what I think are called "chapter books" these days - I started reading those around the same time I also started reading adult books).

PDilemma
08-10-2011, 09:14 PM
agalisgv--my take as a former secondary English teacher is this (yes, Prancer, this is based on experience and I don't have six research studies to cite): reading more won't hurt his vocabulary or skills. As for the words you think he is skipping instead of asking you, he very well may be improving in the use of context clues to at least get a better idea of what they mean. Ultimately, the ability to define words in context rather than ask for or look up a definition is a very good reading skill that improves overall comprehension. He may not be using new words or specifically defining them, but when he encounters them again in another context, he may have a better idea of what they mean and/or a better ability to determine their meaning. In my experience, also, kids who read more find grammar easier and develop better sentence fluency in their writing.

However, these are all long term things. You won't necessarily see overnight improvements in these things just from a summer of more reading. English teachers don't necessarily see dramatic improvements in a school year of instruction. A professor of mine told us that as English teachers, we would do well to take up summer employment like painting houses because when you paint a house, you get done and you can see what you accomplished. When you spend nine and a half months teaching high school kids to write and to analyze literature, you can't always see any accomplishment at the end. The same thing would apply to giving your child a summer of more reading.

rjblue
08-10-2011, 10:20 PM
I'm going to break a personal rule and post before I've read the rest of this thread.

I was an addicted reader from the age of 5 to 38. I would read through family gatherings, and look up when it was all over and ask why no one had asked me to play a game...I'd been oblivious. I'd have to be dragged out of the house by my older sister when I was a teen, and spent most of my spare time reading. I'd read all night with my light hidden under a blanket, exhausted, but unable to stop.

When my children were young, I'd read 2-3 books a day sometimes(thank goodness for secondhand book stores).

No one ever questioned, or raised any concerns about my addicted behavior.

Then- along came the internet (and eventually FSU! -yay). I spent more time actually talking to people, even meeting with some in real life. I felt way more connected and almost freed from my reading addiction. But- my husband, parents, and sister absolutely freaked. I was "addicted" to the internet (3 hours or so online/day). They thought I needed mental help.

As the internet became a part of our overall culture, their concerns waned, although I had to stop having any actual "friends" online, before they relaxed.

To this day, it still pisses me off that something that freed me from my solitary existence was such a source of contention. Reading too much can be very very isolating.

eta- and now re the TV versus reading issue. None of my kids are addicted readers thank goodness), and we only have one TV so they rarely get to choose the program. They all read a lot though, and have extremely divergent literary tastes (one likes classics, one likes angsty modern, and my son likes funny adventures and Kipling). I've found that playing RPG and participating in internet gaming forums have done much more for his writing skills (which are marginal) than his reading. Even though he reads above grade level, it isn't reflected in his writing skills.

I try to be sure that my kids have a balance of TV/internet/active play. But that is easy for me, because I live in a rural environment, where outdoors always beckons.

My kids are all thin, and I think it's because I fed them lots of meat and butter and dairy and fruits and vegetables and whole grains. I didn't buy juice or feed them much sugary cereal. And I didn't make them clean off their plate.

oleada
08-10-2011, 10:36 PM
As a child, I was a very avid reader. I also watched a lot of TV, not much of it educational :lol:

I actually credit both of them with my ability to write and speak English, my second-language, as well as I do. I learned a lot of new words reading, but it was only through television that I could hear them spoken aloud. I also learned a lot of slang and pop culture references from television that I would not have found in books.

Matryeshka
08-10-2011, 10:54 PM
I'm a more-is-more type of person. I like the internet. I like TV a lot. I REALLY like movies. I lurrrve to read. I also love being social as I'm pretty sure I'm FSU's token extrovert. Yes, you can have it all. My weight goes drastically up and down based on employment. If I'm employed, I weigh less. If I'm not employed, I weigh more. Of those other things, I do the same amount whether I'm employed or not, except the internet. Internet use is WAY UP for me if I'm un/deremployed.

It's all FSU's fault! FSU made me FAT. Even worse, it made me SKATER FAT. :mitchell:

skatingfan5
08-10-2011, 11:39 PM
If I'm not employed, I weigh more. Of those other things, I do the same amount whether I'm employed or not, except the internet. Internet use is WAY UP for me if I'm un/deremployed.

It's all FSU's fault! FSU made me FAT. Even worse, it made me SKATER FAT. :mitchell:I would love to be SKATER FAT. :shuffle:

jlai
08-11-2011, 01:50 AM
Reading... For the greater part of human history, the vast majority of folks were illiterate or could barely read. Yet many of them were no doubt clever and successful in their field (stonemason, clothmaking, conquerors, etc. etc.) Reading doesn't have much to do with born intelligence, nor had reading (and paper writing) been the primary mode of learning a profession until mass education came along (I think?).

While reading is probably correlated to writing ability or vocab size, I suspect the quality of your reading matters more than the sheer number of reading hours. I doubt I learn that much from my mindless reading (the stuff I read just to fall asleep in bed or pass time on a plane)

dramagrrl
08-11-2011, 02:57 AM
While reading is probably correlated to writing ability or vocab size, I suspect the quality of your reading matters more than the sheer number of reading hours. I doubt I learn that much from my mindless reading (the stuff I read just to fall asleep in bed or pass time on a plane)
Yes. I am an English teacher, and I strongly believe that the declining grammar, spelling and vocabulary skills of kids today have a great deal to do with the fact that many kids simply do not read for fun anymore... but I would rather have kids watch TV all day than read something like the Twilight series.

Prancer
08-11-2011, 03:00 AM
I don't think that had been the case since sometime in the 19th century. Even before WWI, barely 1/3 of the population lived on farms -- by 1940 it was down to less than 1/4, and by 1950, it was less than 1 in 6. But folks, children as well as adults, were much more physically active then, without question.

I was under the impression that the shift from rural to urban/suburban living took place more during and after WWII than after.

Guess I am wrong about that, for which I apologize.


Not all that many, at least not if they were "very young" teenagers.

Hmm, well, the the stats are for 14-17 year olds and I would consider much of that group very young, but it's all kind of irrelevant since we can agree on this:


Let's face it, there have been a lot of changes that have affected the weight and fitness of American children since the end of World War II.

Indeed.


(yes, Prancer, this is based on experience and I don't have six research studies to cite):

Your personal experience is your personal experience; never will I argue that your experience isn't valid or valuable. If, however, I have evidence that contradicts your claims, how should I present that information without offending you?