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Clear Rules, Physical Activity Cut Children's Screen Time

HealthDay News
by -- Lindsey Marcellin
Updated: Jun 14th 2010

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MONDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) -- In households where parents set clear and consistent limits on screen time and where children have plenty of physical activity, children have lower odds of exceeding the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommended two-hour daily screen-time limit, according to research published online June 14 in Pediatrics.

Susan A. Carlson, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a telephone survey of 7,415 children aged 9 to 15 years and their parents to calculate the odds that children would exceed the recommended screen-time limit of two hours per day or less. Screen time included television, non-school-related computer use, and video games.

The researchers found that more than 27 percent of children exceeded two hours per day of screen-time. Children who reported that they really agreed that their parents had rules regarding television watching limits had a lower risk of exceeding screen-time limits than did children who reported that they strongly disagreed that their parents had such rules. Parents who reported that they always or often placed screen-time viewing limits were less likely to have children who exceeded two hours of screen time than were parents who reported they rarely or never placed these limits. The odds of a child exceeding two hours of screen time per day decreased as his or her physical activity increased in the week preceding the survey.

"Our findings suggest that programs that focus on educating parents about recommended limits and encouraging parents to set limits may be promoting viable strategies to reduce screen time," the authors write.

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