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More Screen Time Linked to Lower Psychological Ability


Limiting screen time may be important for optimal health of young people regardless of how much physical activity they get, according to a study in the United Kingdom. The study, “Children’s Screen Viewing Related to Psychological Difficulties Irrespective of Physical Activity and Sedentary Time,” is published in the November issue of Pediatrics (published online Oct. 11). Researchers from the University of Bristol’s School for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences assessed 1,000 children ages 10 to 11 years, looking at time spent on recreational media use and measuring sedentary time overall as well as time spent on moderate to vigorous activity. The children also completed a strengths and difficulties questionnaire to assess their psychological well-being.

The results showed that both television viewing and computer use were related to higher psychological difficulty scores, regardless of how much time the children spent on physical activity. Children who spent more time on sedentary activity had better psychological scores overall. Those with more physical activity fared better in certain psychological areas, including emotional and peer problems, but fared worse in some areas related to conduct, including hyperactivity. The authors concluded that both television viewing and computer use are important targets for intervention for children’s well-being, regardless of their levels of physical activity or sedentary time. 

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