Spending too much time watching TV could effect a toddler's physical development later on in life, a study has found.
The study, which reviewed 1314 Canadian children who started watching TV from around the age of two, found that an increased amount of time spent in front of the TV was related to a reduced ability to jump properly in the second grade in grade two and a larger waist circumference in the fourth grade.
Past research has suggested that too much TV watching results in reduced participation in class, less physical exercise over the weekend and even a higher chance of being bullied by other classmates, Live Science reported.
Parents of the children who participated in the more recent study were asked a range of questions including how much time their children spent in front of the TV daily.
To measure fitness, he team used standing long jump because it requires good leg strength needed in many other sports activities.
According to the researchers, for every hour spent watching TV at the age of two, the distance each child could jump decreased by 0.361cm when they were in grade two.
Between the ages of two and four-and-a-half the researchers also found that as the hourly TV-watching rate increased weekly, the distance grade twos could jump declined by 0.285cm, while waistlines increased by 0.047cm by grade four.
"The preschool years represents a period of remarkable sensitivity to environments and experiences, and thus account for the origins of many lifestyle behaviours and preferences," the researchers wrote.
"TV is a modifiable lifestyle factor, and people need to be aware that toddler viewing habits may contribute to subsequent physical health," the team's lead researcher, Caroline Fitzpatrick, said in a statement.
Their findings which were published in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity indicate that these effects can be long-term and could pose other health-risks in adolescent development– especially if children are overweight and obese.
The American Academy of Paediatrics recommend that toddlers watch no more than two hours of TV a day.