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29 September 2018, 02:48 | Melissa Porter
More than two hours screentime a day could damage children’s brain development
Study author Dr Jeremy Walsh, from the CHEO Research Institute in Ottawa, Canada, said:"Behaviours and day-to-day activities contribute to brain and cognitive development in children, and physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep might independently and collectively affect cognition".
"This new research adds to existing evidence, and supports concerns about screen time and potential negative links with cognitive development in children", Kirsten Corder, a senior investigator scientist with the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, said in a statement.
Only one in 20 kids in the United States meets guidelines on sleep, exercise and screen time, and almost a third are outside recommendations for all three, according to a study published on Thursday.
However, they acknowledge that their observational study shows only an association between screen time and cognition and can not prove a causal link.
However, only one in 20 children in the United States met the recommended guidelines.
Limiting screen time for children to two hours or less per day is associated with higher cognitive function, according to research published Wednesday in the journal The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.
The study was conducted by Canadian researchers, but examined children in the USA using the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth.
Dr. Eduardo Esteban Bustamante, an assistant professor of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of IL at Chicago who was not directly involved in the research, suggested that the study's findings about screen time may reflect interruption of important childhood growth cycles involving stress related to physical activity and recovery from sleep.
Children and parents completed questionnaires at the start of the trial to estimate the child's physical activity, sleep and screen time.
Children also completed a cognition test, which assessed language abilities, memory, attention, and processing speed. She was not involved in the study. While about half met the sleep recommendation, only 37 percent met the guideline for limited screen time and 18 percent met that for physical activity. The data was also self-reported, which meant there could be inaccuracies in how participants answered one or more of the questions. In addition, meeting only the screen time recommendation or both the screen time and sleep recommendations had the strongest associations with cognitive development. On average, the kids in the study spent 3.6 hours a day engaged in screen time.
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