October 1 (WNN) — Children and teens aged 6 to 17 had about four hours of “screen time” on mobile devices, computers or gaming systems per day during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, a survey reported Friday. Posted by Network. Got it open
But data shows only one in five children and teens engaged in at least 60 minutes of physical activity during the study period, from October 22 to November 2.
And nearly one in 10 youth indicated they had zero days with 60 or more minutes of physical activity.
Study co-author Dr. Pooja Tandon told WNN in an email, “Promoting physical activity and limiting screen time are both important goals of promoting children’s mental health during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. can be.”
“Families, schools and communities need to prioritize these health behaviors and promote equitable access to daily opportunities for physical activity for all children,” said Tandon, a pediatrician and researcher at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. We should work towards creative solutions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that youth engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, ideally outside.
However, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the closure of schools and the cancellation of youth activities, including sports, nationally, agency research shows that most children and teens meet these minimum standards of physical activity. do not complete.
Furthermore, a 2018 study found that one in four young people did at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day.
This is important, Tandon and colleagues said, because studies in China found that children who engaged in more physical activity during the pandemic had better behavior and mental health, but were unable to exercise due to virus concerns. opportunities were few.
“There are many understandable challenges for children to stay physically active during a pandemic,” David Bennett, professor of psychiatry at Drexel University in Philadelphia, told WNN in an email.
“These include closing schools that limit access to physical education and organized sports, closing playgrounds and limiting opportunities to play with friends,” said Bennett, who is Tandon’s co-author. were not part of the study, but they have conducted similar research.
For this study, Tandon and his colleagues surveyed 1,000 children aged 6 to 17 and their parents or caregivers — all from across the United States — between October 22 and November 2, when the pandemic struck. Many schools were closed nationally.
Of the children who participated, 21% reported that they engaged in at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, the data showed.
However, just over 8% indicated they had zero days in which they met the CDC’s physical activity recommendations, the researchers said.
According to the researchers, on average, study participants said they were physically active for 60 or more minutes on about four days per week.
About 14% of the children and teens in the study had been diagnosed with or were being evaluated for anxiety, while 10% reported symptoms of depression, the data showed.
Furthermore, just over 11% indicated that they were experiencing behavioral problems, the researchers said.
According to the researchers, young people who met the minimum criteria for physical activity were less likely to experience these mental health disorders and behavioral problems.
Tandon said, “Parents and schools need to get creative about how to support more active play and outdoor time and reduce screen time, as our paper shows that these health behaviors are linked to mental health.” “
“We cannot expect parents to bear all this burden – schools and communities play a vital role in supporting and promoting physical activity and outdoor time for children,” she said.