Posts Tagged ‘sedentary behavior’

More Screen Time Means Less Fit Kids

As the father of two electronically stimulated teens, I’m keening aware of the countless hours they spend in front of their laptops listening to music, chatting with friends, watching TV shows, or surfing the Web.

Now there’s more evidence that kids who spend more time in front of electronic devices are less likely to be fit.

The study was published in the June edition of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Researchers followed more than 5,000 children from age 12 to 16 to determine changes in their sedentary behavior.

Each child recorded his or her screen time and completed a shuttle run test to provide a measure of fitness.

Importantly, the researchers adjusted for time spent in high-intensity physical activity.

“In this technology age, children spend more time in sedentary behavior,” said lead author Jonathan Mitchell, Ph.D., then at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

“We wanted to see if high screen-based sedentary behavior affected cardiorespiratory fitness levels in childhood, and if this effect was independent of physical activity levels.”

As you might expect, the kids who had more screen time completed fewer shuttle run laps.

The association was strongest for the children who had mid-to-high fitness, and was independent of physical activity levels.

The researchers suggest that if the kids spent less time being sedentary, that is, had less screen time, their fitness levels would increase.

“The results are interesting and add to the evidence that spending too much time sitting is hazardous to children’s health,” said Mitchell. “If children limit the amount of time spent sitting in front of a screen, then this could help to combat declining levels of cardiorespiratory fitness in youth.”

I encourage my kids to get outside and be active whenever possible.

Luckily, they are both athletic and love to skateboard, shoot hoops, kick around a soccer ball, or play catch.

I try to keep up with what they are doing on their laptops so I’m in touch with what they like, however, there’s only so much dub step music one can take.

I suggest they practice the guitar or drums instead of mindlessly listening to tunes, and I am moderately successful.

And now I have even more motivation to get them to limit their screen time.