The Texas-based American Heart Association, the country's oldest and largest voluntary organization of this kind, said in a statement that when kids and teens spend too much time on screen-based devices, it could cause sedentary behavior that can lead to weight gain and obesity. It's not exactly news. Those under 2 years of age should have no screen time at all.
"Screen time is associated with being overweight and obese which is associated with high cholesterol and high blood pressure", Dr. Stephen Daniels, a spokesman for the American Heart Association and pediatric cardiologist, tells CNN.
American Heart Association scientific statements are developed by a panel of experts who review existing scientific literature and evidence to provide an overview of a topic related to cardiovascular disease or stroke. The document holds that children and adolescents have seen a net increase in the recreational use of screen-based devices over the last twenty years. Although television viewing among children and teens has declined, the use of smartphones and tablets have surged. Last year, a study from researchers at San Diego State and Florida State universities found almost half of teens who spent five or more hours in front of screens every day experienced thoughts of suicide or prolonged periods of hopelessness or sadness. In this review, the writing group found that the available scientific literature is based nearly entirely on self-reported screen time, with very few breaking down the type of device or the context in which it is used, which means that the studies are not created to prove cause and effect. Very few of the studies looked at which types of devices were used in different contexts, they add. Removing TV screens and other recreational screen-based devices from bedrooms and keeping them away during meal times might help. "Once those risk factors, such as obesity, are in play in childhood, they tend to continue into adulthood".
"There is also evidence that screens are disrupting sleep quality, which can also increase the risk of obesity".
Children and teens should spend no more than 1-2 hours a day on recreational screen time, otherwise they are inclined to obesity, a USA non-government organization in preventing heart disease said on Monday.
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Parents, there's yet another reason to limit screen time for your kids: It could contribute to future heart disease.
Efforts to minimize screen time should center around parent involvement, the team explains.
It was suggested that parents can set a good example to their children by reducing the amount of time they spent on their own devices.
"Ideally, screen-based devices should not be in bedrooms", Barnett added, "because some studies have found that having screen-based devices in the bedroom can affect sleep".
"Maximise face-to-face interactions and time outdoors".