TV, computer screen time linked to high blood pressure in young children

Aug 03, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Sedentary behaviors such as TV viewing and “screen time” involving computers and video games are linked with elevated blood pressure in children regardless of whether they are overweight or obese, according to research published this month in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The findings suggest the trend in America of increased media exposure for children may be having a much more dire effect than previously thought, according to co-author Joe Eisenmann, a professor in Michigan State University’s Department of Kinesiology.

“The cardiovascular disease risk factors suggest that risks may be immediate and not just indicative of potential future problems,” Eisenmann said. “We’ve known from previous studies that sedentary behaviors are linked to obesity, and that obesity is linked to high blood pressure, but this is the first time that we’ve linked those behaviors directly to elevated blood pressure.”

Eisenmann, a former professor at Iowa State University, worked with ISU colleagues David Martinez-Gomez and Greg Welk to analyze data on 57 boys and 54 girls ages 3 to 8. Sedentary behavior was determined by an accelerometer worn over the right hip and by parental reports stating the average time the children spent watching TV, playing video games, painting, sitting or taking part in other activities with low levels of physical activity each day for seven days.

Time watching TV was defined as time spent watching TV, videotapes or DVDs. Computer use was defined as the time spent using a home computer or . Researchers defined as the total amount of time each child spent using a TV, video, computer or video game.

The children’s height, weight, fat mass and blood pressure were measured.

Eisenmann and colleagues found that overall sedentary activity was not significantly related to higher blood pressure, but TV viewing and screen time were linked to elevated levels.

“It appears other factors, which occur during excessive screen time, should also be considered in the context of sedentary behavior and elevated development in children,” Eisenmann said. “ often comes with unhealthy snacking behavior and also can lead to stress responses that disrupt sleep.”

To combat the problem, Eisenmann stresses parents and children need to adhere to limits set by the American Academy of Pediatrics of no more than two hours of TV watching per day. Also, that needs to be combined with at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

The research was funded by a York University Faculty of Arts Research Grant, American Heart Association Beginning-Grant-in-Aid, a University of Nebraska at Kearney Grant and a scholarship from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science.

Provided by Michigan State University (news : web)

Explore further: Local enforcement of federal immigration laws affects immigrant Hispanics' healthcare

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sedentary teens more likely to have higher blood pressure

Feb 05, 2007

Teenagers who spend a lot of time planted in front of the TV are more likely to have higher blood pressure, regardless of whether they are overweight. "This is the first research to show a direct and independent connection ...

Children who watch more TV are fatter

Feb 26, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Pre-school children who watch a lot of television are considerably fatter than those who don’t, according to a major new study.

Recommended for you

Hot flashes linked to increased risk of hip fracture

2 hours ago

Women who experience moderate to severe hot flashes and night sweats during menopause tend to have lower bone mineral density and higher rates of hip fracture than peers who do not have menopausal symptoms, according to a ...

Core hospital care team members may surprise you

2 hours ago

Doctors and nurses are traditionally thought to be the primary caretakers of patients in a typical hospital setting. But according to a study at the burn center intensive care unit at Loyola University Health System, three ...

Malnutrition a hidden epidemic among elders

5 hours ago

Health care systems and providers are not attuned to older adults' malnutrition risk, and ignoring malnutrition exacts a toll on hospitals, patients, and payers, according to the latest issue of the What's Hot newsletter ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

E_L_Earnhardt
not rated yet Aug 05, 2009
Old type "CR tubes" were major offenders. New flat-screens are billed as a lesser problem. The kitchen
"microwave" does its part. "Protective clothing" is being considered. Grounded metal chairs? The "electronic age" does come at a price!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.