June 24, 2024

Children with too much screen time are at risk of health problems as adults

Putting a screen in front of your child may seem like an easy way to get them out of your hair, but doing it too much could have a negative impact on their health as adults, according to a multi-decade study.

Researchers found time spent watching television during childhood and adolescence was associated with a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, higher BMI values ​​and lower cardiorespiratory fitness in adulthood. They also found that watching TV as an adult did not help with the negative health effects, supporting their hypothesis that excessive sedentary behavior during childhood it may have a greater impact on adult health than on adult behaviour.

These results came from New Zealand children born in 1972 and 1973 and followed up until they were 45 years old. Researchers checked in at certain ages – 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 32 and 45 – to ask questions about their TV viewing habits along with certain health measurements such as activity level and BMI.

Once certain factors such as socioeconomic status and sex were adjusted, the main outcome of excess TV between five and 15 years of age was the presence of metabolic syndrome at age 45. This is defined as three or more of certain cardiometabolic risk factors, such as obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension and high blood pressure.

SEE MORE: Parents should not be shamed for children’s screen time, say researchers

The observational study, published in the journal Pediatrics, cannot prove a link between younger TV viewing and metabolic syndrome, but lead author Dr. Bob Hancox said there are many reasons why the association may be true, such as lack of exercise from the disruptive nature of watching TV.

The study also adds to other research that suggests that screen time can be negative for the user’s health.

in May, Description from neuroscience non-profit Sapien Labs found that overall mental well-being scores were consistently higher when a person got a smartphone at a relatively older age.

In 2019, one study found that increased screen time for 2- and 3-year-olds was associated with worse performance on developmental screening tests. And the year before that in 2018, researchers found Excessive screen time in children and adolescents has resulted in numerous negative physiological and psychological effects, including cardiovascular disease, impaired vision, reduced bone density, depression and suicidal thoughts.

There is not enough evidence to suggest what the ideal amount of screen time would be, and the American Academy of Pediatrics He has suggested that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. But he and other agencies discourage screens for children under 2 and older children recommend using screens only up to two hours a day.


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