Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Preschoolers: too much screen time!!

Preschoolers' Physical Activity, Screen Time and Compliance with Recommendations

Hinkley, Trina; Salmon, Jo; Okely, Anthony D.; Crawford, David; Hesketh, Kylie

Published Ahead-of-Print
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Purpose: Little evidence exists about the prevalence of adequate levels of physical activity and of appropriate screen-based entertainment in preschool children. Previous studies have generally relied on small samples. This study investigates how much time preschool children spend being physically activity and engaged in screen-based entertainment. The study also reports compliance with the recently released Australian recommendations for physical activity (>=3h/d) and screen entertainment (<=1h/d) and the NASPE physical activity guidelines (>=2h/d) and AAP screen entertainment recommendations (>=2h/d) in a large sample of preschool children.
Methods: Participants were 1004 Melbourne preschool children (mean age 4.5, range 3-5 years) and their families in the Healthy Active Preschool Years (HAPPY) Study. Physical activity data were collected by accelerometry over an eight-day period. Parents reported their child's television/video/DVD viewing, computer/internet and electronic game use during a typical week. A total of 703 (70%) had sufficient accelerometry data and 935 children (93%) had useable data on time spent in screen-based entertainment.
Results: Children spent 16% (approx. 127 mins/day) of their time being physically active. Boys and younger children were more active than were girls and older children, respectively. Children spent an average of 113 minutes per day in screen-based entertainment. Virtually no children (<1%) met both the Australian recommendations and 32% met both the NASPE and AAP recommendations.
Conclusion: The majority of young children are not participating in adequate amounts of physical activity and in excessive amounts of screen-based entertainment. It is likely that physical activity may decline and screen-based entertainment increase with age. Compliance with recommendations may be further reduced. Strategies to promote physical activity and reduce screen-based entertainment in young children are required.
(C)2011The American College of Sports Medicine

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