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Too Much Screen Time May Pile on the Pounds

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MONDAY, Aug. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Kids are spending extra time than ever in entrance of screens, making it extra probably they will change into chubby or overweight, a brand new evaluation claims.

The common 8- to 18-year-old spends greater than seven hours a day fixated on a display screen, whether or not it is a pc, smartphone, pill, online game or TV, the newest proof reveals.

Teenagers who exceed two hours each day of leisure display screen time are almost twice as prone to be chubby or overweight, the evaluation confirmed. Excess weight will increase the danger of coronary heart illness, diabetes and different health issues.

“Total media use increased by about 20 percent from 1999 to 2009, with most of that jump happening since 2004, and driven mainly by increases in computer use,” mentioned examine lead writer Tracie Barnett. She’s a researcher at the INRS-Institut Armand Frappier and Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center in Montreal.

This and different proof helps the American Heart Association’s longstanding advice that youngsters and teenagers get not more than two hours a day of leisure display screen time, Barnett and her colleagues concluded.

“The more time you spent on these screen-based devices, the greater the odds of being overweight or obese,” Barnett mentioned.

The share of overweight children in the United States has greater than tripled since the 1970s to incorporate almost 1 in 5 school-age youngsters, in accordance with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the TV is not the principal creator of childhood sofa potatoes.

Traditional tv viewing has decreased over the previous 10 years, whereas time spent with different screen-based gadgets has surged, the researchers discovered.

“Although kids seem to be spending less time watching television, they’re still viewing TV content. They’re just doing it on these new devices,” Barnett defined. “It means they are still sedentary with these other types of screen-based recreational devices.”

Kids are being uncovered to screens at an extremely younger age, the researchers found. One current examine discovered that common each day tv time amongst youngsters beneath 2 ranged from a half-hour to greater than three hours.

“That’s shocking to me,” mentioned Dr. Martha Gulati, cardiology division chief for the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix. “I don’t know if the screen had become their babysitter, but I don’t think that is what children are really meant to interact with.”

Further, there’s nonetheless a link between time spent on a display screen and the chance of extra weight.

The share of children who spend greater than two hours a day with a display screen has elevated by a few third in recent times, Barnett mentioned — from about 16.4 p.c in 2003 to 21.7 p.c in 2007.

It is sensible that display screen time might be sedentary, mentioned Gulati, who’s editor-in-chief of CardioSmart.org, the American College of Cardiology’s affected person info web site.

“If they’re texting their friends, most of the time they’re sitting down to text. If they’re on Instagram or Snapchat or whatever, they’re usually sitting,” she mentioned.

But Barnett and Gulati each admit that limiting display screen time to 2 hours might be powerful for many mother and father.

“Two hours is a great goal,” Gulati mentioned. “I don’t think people should be sitting for so much of their time, either children or adults. Realistically, I think that’s going to be a very hard goal for parents to hold their children to.”

Barnett instructed that folks who need to restrict their children’ display screen time would possibly do higher to focus on different issues that the youngsters might be doing.

“Getting face-to-face time, getting time outdoors, making sure there are pursuits that are free of devices — I think that will necessarily reduce and control screen time,” Barnett mentioned.

Gulati added that folks also can assist by setting a very good instance and limiting their very own use of display screen gadgets.

“If their parents go out for a walk every evening, children learn that is something you do as a family,” she mentioned. “If parents are watching TV all the time, children tend to watch TV as well.”

The coronary heart affiliation recommends banning display screen gadgets from the dinner desk and from bedrooms. Other attainable concepts embody:

  • Setting apart time for bodily exercise as a household, ideally on a each day foundation.
  • Planning TV watching prematurely, choosing choose reveals you need to watch and avoiding channel-surfing.
  • Avoiding use of TV or gadgets as a reward or a punishment for good or unhealthy habits.

The evaluation was revealed on-line Aug. 6 in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

More info

The American Heart Association has extra about limiting screen time.

SOURCES: Tracie Barnett, Ph.D., researcher, INRS-Institut Armand Frappier and Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center, Montreal, Canada; Martha Gulati, M.D., M.S., cardiology division chief, University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix; Aug. 6, 2018; Circulation, on-line

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