Parents would do well to pay attention to a study by a Harvard University professor linking television watching and obesity.

Professor Steven Gortmaker blames television for a 45 percent rise in obesity among children and adolescents between 1960 and the early 1980s. Gortmaker said 1983 studies indicated that children spent an average of at least 25 hours a week in front of television sets, but he speculated the actual number of viewing hours is much higher.Not only has this led to a general decline in physical activity but TV commercials also reinforce the appeal of high-calorie foods.

In other words, parents would do their children a big favor if they guided their young "couch potatoes" into more healthful activities.