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Mental Wellbeing Declines with Increase in Kids' Screen Time Regardless of Physical Activity - featured October 12, 2010

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[Source: Reuters]

More than two hours a day spent watching television or playing computer games could put a child at greater risk for psychological problems, suggests a new study.

British researchers found the effect held regardless of how active kids were during the rest of the day.

"We know that physical activity is good for both physical and mental health in children and there is some evidence that screen viewing is associated with negative behaviors," lead researcher Dr. Angie Page of the University of Bristol told Reuters Health in an e-mail. "But it wasn't clear whether having high physical activity levels would 'compensate' for high levels of screen viewing in children."

Page and her colleagues studied more than 1,000 kids between the ages of 10 and 11. Over seven days, the children filled out a questionnaire reporting how much time they spent daily in front of a television or computer and answering questions describing their mental state -- including emotional, behavioral, and peer-related problems. Meanwhile, an accelerometer measured their physical activity.

The odds of significant psychological difficulties were about 60 percent higher for children spending longer than two hours a day in front of either screen compared with kids exposed to less screen time, the researchers report in the journal Pediatrics. For children with more than two hours of both types of screen time during the day, the odds more than doubled.

Read the Rest of this Article on Reuters.com

Tags: News of the Week Newsletter PT Physical Fitness 15 October 2010