Children and teens should spend no more than one to two hours a day on
recreational screen time, otherwise they are inclined to obesity, a U.S. non-government organisation
in preventing heart disease said.
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The Texas-based American Heart Association said in a statement that when kids and teens spend too much
time on screen-based devices, it could cause sedentary behaviour that can lead to weight gain and obesity.
The statement was developed by a panel of experts who reviewed existing scientific documents and
evidence to provide an overview of a topic related to cardiovascular disease or stroke,
which is more seen in the obese people.
The experts found that while time spent in front of the TV has decreased among younger people, the
overall time kids spend using screen-based devices has increased substantially.
Over the last 20 years, TV viewing by children and adolescents has declined but the recreational use of
other screen-based devices, such as smartphones, tablet computers and others, has resulted in
a net increase in screen time overall.
Current estimates are that kids and young people between eight to 18-year-olds spend more than seven hours
using screens daily.
The association urged parents to take steps to limit the screen time of their children.
Tracie Barnett, a researcher at Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center in Montreal, Canada,
and the chair of the writing group stressed the American Heart Association’s recommendation for
children and teens to get no more than one to two hours of recreational screen time daily.
“Given that most youth already far exceed these limits, it is especially important for parents to be
vigilant about their child’s screen time, including phones,” the researcher said.
According to Barnett, more research is needed because the patterns of screen-based media use and their
long-term effects on children and teens are not yet known.