Too much screen time linked to high blood pressure in children
Research presented at the World Heart Federation’s World Congress of Cardiology suggests that children who spend more than two hours a day in front of TV or computer screens are 2.5 times more likely to have high blood pressure. The study also found that children with a low level of fitness had odds 3.4 times higher than children with a high level of fitness.
To understand what factors directly contributed to high blood pressure in children, researchers measured the relationship between blood pressure and inactivity, sedentary behaviors and fitness in 630 children between the ages of 8 and 10 who were at high risk of obesity. The team took five blood pressure readings in succession and analyzed physical activity of the subjects for one week with a device that measures movement, called an accelerometer. The children also completed questionnaires regarding their physical inactivity from watching TV, using a computer, playing video games, studying and reading. Then, the researchers gauged their fitness through an exercise test on a stationary bike, and they measured their height, weight and sexual maturity.
The results revealed that children who engaged in more than two hours of “screen time” daily had a 2.7-fold increase in odds of elevated diastolic blood pressure. The researchers said this association was more noticeable in overweight and obese children. The World Health Organization recommends that children engage in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day, while adults should complete 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week.