Heavy screen use may make pre-school children less physically active

20 March 2020

Two- and three-year-olds who spend more than three hours a day on screens are less physically active at age five than those who watch for less than an hour.

A study, published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, asked parents of more than 500 children to report the average time their children spent on a screen daily – including TVs and tablets – at age two and age three. Then, at age five, the children wore an activity tracker continuously for seven days to monitor their sleep and physical activity.

Those using screens for three or more hours a day in their early years spent on average 40 minutes more sitting down each day at age five than those who had used screens for less than an hour. They also took part in 30 minutes less light physical activity and 10 minutes less moderate to vigorous activity a day.

Bozhi Chen at the National University of Singapore said the findings ‘support public 
health efforts to reduce screen viewing time in young children’.

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