American Heart Association Urges Screen Time Limits for Youth

THURSDAY, Aug. 9, 2018 — The American Heart Association (AHA) is concerned about the impact screen time is having on sedentary behavior in children and teens, according to a scientific statement published online Aug. 6 in Circulation.

Tracie A. Barnett, Ph.D., chair of the AHA Obesity Committee, and colleagues provided an updated perspective on sedentary behaviors specific to modern youth and their impact on cardiometabolic health and obesity.

The committee writes that it is important to understand the context in which sedentary behaviors occur. There is also a need to more accurately capture the nature of sedentary behavior, both quantitatively and qualitatively, especially with respect to recreational screen-based devices. More evidence is required to better inform public health interventions and to establish detailed quantitative guidelines on specific sedentary behaviors in youth. While further evidence is generated, the committee suggests that televisions and other recreational screen-based devices be removed from bedrooms and meal times. Furthermore, daily device-free social interactions and outdoor play should be encouraged. Last, parents and guardians should devise and enforce screen time regulations and model healthy screen-based behaviors.

“Increasing trends of screen time are concerning; the portability of screen-based devices and abundant access to unlimited programming and online content may be leading to new patterns of consumption that are exposing youth to multiple pathways harmful to cardiometabolic health,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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Posted: August 2018

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