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More Screen Time and Less Activity Can mean More Distress


Health risk behaviors have increasingly been linked to psychological distress in children and adolescents. As part of the 2003 Scottish Health Survey of nearly 1,500 children aged 4 to 12 years and their parents, researchers from the University College London looked at the association between television/screen entertainment viewing time, physical activity levels and psychological distress. Higher amounts of TV/screen time were associated with lower physical activity rates. 

Both higher screen time and lower physical activity rates were linked with higher odds of psychological distress, including emotional symptoms, conduct problems and peer relationship problems. The authors concluded that public health policy should focus on reducing sedentary time and maintaining sufficient physical activity levels in younger children. 


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit