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When kids watch a lot of TV, parents may end up more stressed

There’s bad news for parents who frequently plop their kids in front of the TV to give themselves a break: It might actually end up leaving moms and dads more stressed.

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There’s bad news for parents who frequently plop their kids in front of the TV to give themselves a break: It might actually end up leaving moms and dads more stressed.

Why? Because the more television that kids watch, the more they’re exposed to advertising messages. The more advertising they see, the more likely they are to insist on purchasing items when they go with their parents to the store – and perhaps make a fuss if told “no.” All that, researchers say, may contribute to parents’ overall stress levels, well beyond a single shopping trip.

The findings come from a University of Arizona-led study, published in the International Journal of Advertising, that explores the potential effects of children’s television watching habits on their parents’ stress levels.

“The more advertising children see, the more they ask for things and the more conflict is generated,” said lead study author Matthew Lapierre, an assistant professor in the UArizona Department of Communication in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “What we haven’t looked at before is what the potential effect is on parents. We know kids ask for things, we know it leads to conflict, but we wanted to ask the next question: Could this be contributing to parents’ overall stress?”

The study suggests that it could.

Dealing with viewing patterns

There are a few things parents can do, perhaps the most obvious of which is limiting screen time.

“Commercial content is there for a reason: to elicit purchasing behavior. So, if this is a problem, maybe shut off the TV,” Lapierre said.

Of course, that can be easier said than done, he acknowledged.

Another thing parents can try, especially as advertising geared toward children ramps up around the holidays: Consider how they talk to their kids about consumerism.

The researchers looked at the effectiveness of three types of parent-child consumer-related communication:

–Collaborative communication is when a parent seeks child input on family purchasing decisions – for example, saying things such as, “I will listen to your advice on certain products or brands.”
–Control communication is when a parent exhibits total control in parent-child consumer related interactions – for example, saying things such as, “Don’t argue with me when I say no to your product request.”
–Advertising communication is when parents talk to their children about advertising messages – for example, saying things such as, “Commercials will say anything to get you to buy something.”

They found that, in general, collaborative communication is associated with less parent stress. However, the protective effect of collaborative communication decreases as children’s purchase initiation and coercive behaviors – such as arguing, whining or throwing temper tantrums – increase.

Both control communication and advertising communication are associated with more purchase initiations and children’s coercive behavior, the researchers found, suggesting that engaging less in those communication styles could be beneficial.

However, when children have higher levels of television exposure, the protective effect of engaging in less advertising communication decreases.

“Overall, we found that collaborative communication between parents and children was a better strategy for reducing stress in parents. However, this communicative strategy shows diminishing returns when children ask for more products or engage in more consumer conflict with parents,” said study co-author Eunjoo Choi, a UArizona doctoral student in communication.

The study is based on survey data from 433 parents of children ages 2 to 12. The researchers focused on younger children because they have less independent purchasing power and spend more time shopping with their parents than older kids, Lapierre said.

In addition to answering questions about their communication styles, the parents in the study also responded to questions designed to measure:

–How much television their child watches in a day.
–How often their child ask for or demands a product during shopping trips, or touches a product without asking.
–How often their child engages in specific coercive behaviors during shopping trips.
–Parent stress levels.

Advertisers find a way

Lapierre acknowledged that the way people consume entertainment is changing. With the rise of the DVR and streaming services, many viewers are no longer being exposed to the traditional advertising of network or cable TV. However, advertisers are finding creative ways around that, through tactics such as product placement and integrated branding – incorporating product or company names into a show’s narrative – Lapierre said. And advertising toward children remains a multibillion-dollar industry.

“In general, more television exposure means more exposure to commercialized content. Even if I’m streaming, if I I’m watching more of it, I’m likely seeing more integrated branding,” Lapierre said.

Advertising aimed at children – which often features lots of bright colors, upbeat music and flashy characters – can be especially persuasive, since, developmentally, children aren’t fully capable of understanding advertising’s intent, Lapierre said.

“Advertising for kids is generated to makes them feel excited. They do a lot of things in kids’ advertising to emotionally jack up the child,” Lapierre said. “Children don’t have the cognitive and emotional resources to pull themselves back, and that’s why it’s a particular issue for them.”

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NewsMakers

Men with sensory loss are more likely to be obese

The association between physical activity and obesity was higher in men with hearing loss, who were 2.319 times more likely to be obese than women who reported difficulty hearing. Obesity in those with sight loss was 1.556 times higher in inactive men than women.

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Men who suffer sensory loss, particularly hearing loss, are more likely to be physically inactive and obese than women, according to a new study published in the European Journal of Public Health.

Researchers analysed data from more than 23,000 Spanish adults, and examined associations with physical inactivity and obesity in people with vision and hearing loss, and explored differences between men and women.

Results suggest inactive people with hearing loss were 1.78 times more likely to be obese compared to those who did not have any hearing loss. In people who had difficulty seeing, the odds ratio is slightly smaller, with a likelihood of obesity being 1.375 times higher than those who did not report vision loss.

The association between physical activity and obesity was higher in men with hearing loss, who were 2.319 times more likely to be obese than women who reported difficulty hearing. Obesity in those with sight loss was 1.556 times higher in inactive men than women.

Those with combined seeing and hearing difficulties had the highest prevalence of physical inactivity (44.8%) and obesity (26.1%). Analysis showed a significant association between physical inactivity and obesity in men with vision or hearing loss, but not in women.

Around 62% of adults in Spain are overweight, with 26% reporting as obese. In the UK, the figures are broadly similar at around 64% and 28% respectively, suggesting strong similarities between the countries.

A total of 11.04% of the people surveyed self-reported vision loss, 6.96% reported hearing loss, and 3.93% reported suffering both vision and hearing loss.

Lead author Professor Shahina Pardhan, Director of the Vision and Eye Research Institute at Anglia Ruskin University, said: “It is clear from our study that there are significant differences between genders.

“Although women were overall less physically active than men, we found an association between physical inactivity and obesity in men, but not in women. This indicates that, especially in people with vision and hearing losses, exercise and being active has a very important role in preventing obesity for men.

“Adults, especially those with sensory losses, should be encouraged to be as physically active as possible but there are obviously challenges, strongly suggesting that intervention and encouragement would play a very important role.

“An effective strategy to increase the levels of physical activity in this population group would be through targeted intervention programmes based on health awareness on the importance of physical activity.”

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Dad tips we take for granted but go a long way

With all the pressure that comes with responsibilities, dads also need to look after their own wellbeing too.

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There is no one-size-fits all way to being a father, but most working dads want to do the best to support their loved ones. With all the pressure that comes with these responsibilities, dads also need to look after their own wellbeing too. 

Donato Avellana is the Health and Wellbeing Lead for the Vibe Team at Canva Philippines, and as a father himself, he acknowledges the importance of work-life balance. He has helped build programs at Canva that empower employees to have a healthy work-life balance, with holistic programs for all domains of wellness. Taking his learnings from this, he shares some helpful and practical tips to help dads to develop healthy habits that can boost their happiness at work and at home. 

1. Rest and recover well

Rest and relaxation is crucial to improve our overall health. Try your best to get at least 7 hours of sleep, go to bed an hour before you go to sleep, and stay away from your TV or mobile phone, as several studies show that the blue light from screens can disrupt sleep. Sleep is often a neglected component of overall well-being, but this is where the body repairs itself to get ready for another day. Remember that you deserve to rest.

2. Start your day with a cold shower 

Showering can also offer more benefits than many realise.  By using water that is a little cold, you can improve blood circulation, with the lower temperature causing blood to run to the skin’s surface. Good blood circulation plays an important role in our health for proper nutrient distribution throughout our body.

This is also a good time for dads to have their ‘me’ time. Breathing exercises are a great way to start the day, by offering the opportunity to regroup and reflect. 

3. Move more, make it a habit

The health benefits of movement have been scientifically proven time and time again. Your body is connected to your brain and your movement habits can positively impact how you think and feel. Inactivity can make you feel sluggish and tired, making it hard to find motivation and deliver on responsibilities.

Add regular walks, stand often, or follow stretching routines that you can commit to during the day. Taking time for a short 10-15-minute walk is a great way to have a mental and physical break.

4. Eat smart: practice a mindful eating habit. 

We have been educated about what healthy eating is since we were kids. Eating intuitively on a regular schedule is very important. Eating with no structure creates mindless eating that can lead to poor nutrition choices. Think of nourishing your body with healthy fuel for efficient performance instead of just eating. Eat a variety of whole foods, have fruits and vegetables, and hydrate smartly.

5. It’s okay to ask for help

This shortlist might not be easy for everyone, so I encourage dads to seek help when they need it. You might want to start at home with your spouse, ask for help from co-workers, peers, fellow fathers, professionals such as your doctor.

Showing appreciation to your father

If you’re still looking for heart-felt gift ideas for your dad, you can browse through Canva for free design ideas and inspiration. 

Make your dad, grandfather or any other special figure feel loved and appreciated by designing personalized cards. A wide variety of photos, customizable templates, and full-color professional layouts are available. You can also find Filipino templates by changing the language settings to Tagalog and searching for the word ‘tatay’.

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NewsMakers

Sun Life Philippines holds ‘Tiny Habits’ workshop

The interactive event carried a fitness theme and was conducted by certified Tiny Habits Coaches TJ Agulto and Claire Limof AHA! Behavorial Design.They shared tips on creating tiny habits in a continuous period of two weeks and also emphasized the importance of celebrating small wins.

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Members of Sun Life Philippines’ Bright Habit Starters community were recently treated to an exclusive workshop on Tiny Habits, the breakthrough method for building habits by world-renowned Behavior Scientist Dr. BJ Fogg.

The interactive event carried a fitness theme and was conducted by certified Tiny Habits Coaches TJ Agulto and Claire Limof AHA! Behavorial Design.They shared tips on creating tiny habits in a continuous period of two weeks and also emphasized the importance of celebrating small wins.

The event was followed by one-on-one coaching sessions to help the participants commit to their habits. This was supervised through the Bright Habits Chatbot, which prompted them to perform daily check-ins for two weeks. This led to the participants achieving 93% success rate in practicing their Bright Tiny Habits.

Following the launch, a second batch of participants is now undergoing the same program, this time with the goal of creating habits to improve their relationships.

The Tiny Habits workshop is just one of the many perks enjoyed by the Bright Habit Starter community. Members are also provided with helpful tips, exclusive promos, and other activities designed to create a sustained behavior change in the present so they can reach their goals in the future. Launched just last March as part of Sun Life’s Ito Ang Araw Mo campaign, the community now has over 3,000 members.

Those interested to be a part of the Bright Habit Starters Community simply have to join via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/itoangarawmo.

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