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2 Hours Screen Time a Day May Lead to Unfit Kids

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

Teens who spend more than two hours in front of the TV or computer each day showed less endurance during a standard running test than their peers.

The findings by researchers in Australia do not prove that TV and computer time is leading to out-of-shape kids. However, the study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine does lend support to advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that parents limit their kids’ screen time to a maximum of two hours per day.

Dr. Louise L. Hardy, the lead researchers in the study says that advice has been based on “prudence” rather than direct measures of kids’ fitness levels. Dr. Hardy says the latest findings suggest the AAP recommendation is “pretty much spot-on.”

The study included 2,750 11- to 15-year-old students at schools in New South Wales, Australia who were surveyed about various sedentary activities including how much time they spend reading, doing homework, using a computer for “fun” and watching television. In general, students who sat in front of the TV or computer for more than two hours a day performed more poorly on fitness testing.

Dr. Hardy said parents should make clear rules about their kids’ small-screen time, remove televisions from their children’s bedrooms and even designate “no-screen” days for the whole family.

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