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The impact of technology on children's physical activity
The impact of technology on children's physical activity

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4 Why is controlling screen time important?

The general recommendation for screen time is approximately two hours a day, although there is no uniform global guidance on this in the way there is for physical activity (AAP, 2016). This suggested figure is based on research showing that excessive media use can lead to attention problems, difficulties at school, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity. But why is it important to look at screen time and what connection does this have with a child’s physical activity levels? Activity 4 will explore this.

Described image
Figure 4 Girls playing on tablets

Activity 4 Screen time, physical activity levels and blood pressure

Timing: Allow 45 minutes

Read an article by the NHS titled ‘Over two hours screen time a day may raise a child’s blood pressure [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ’, which discusses some research that was published in the International Journal of Cardiology. Then note down the main conclusions presented in the article.

Discussion

The study reported that high blood pressure existed in just over 10 per cent of children, which was double the predicted 5 per cent. It also reported that the risk of high blood pressure was 53 per cent more likely for children with low levels of physical activity and 28 per cent more likely for children with more than two hours of ‘screen time’ a day. Therefore, physical activity can be seen to have a greater influence on a child’s blood pressure than screen time.