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New study raises concerns about screen time among urban children with asthma
Date:2/4/2009

Urban children with asthma engage in an average of an hour more of screen time daily than the maximum amount American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends. This is the first study to examine screen time among children with asthma.

"We know that both asthma and excessive screen time can be associated with other difficulties, including behavior problems, difficulty with attention, poor school performance and obesity," said Kelly M. Conn, M.P.H., of General Pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong and lead author of the study, which was published recently in Academic Pediatrics. (Academic Pediatrics changed its name from Ambulatory Pediatrics this year.) The study was conducted out of the University of Rochester Medical Center.

As a part of a larger study on how to more effectively treat asthma, Conn and her colleagues surveyed parents of urban children with asthma in Rochester, NY, to better understand their screen time viewing habits. Screen time includes TV watching and video tapes, playing video and computer games and using the Internet. The study found that 74 percent of the 226 children whose parents were surveyed exceeded more than two hours of screen time per day. On average, these children with asthma watched 3.4 hours daily.

"Even though these findings are preliminary, a message for parents would be to remain aware of the amount of time your child is spending in front of screens and try to encourage your child to participate in a range of activities," Conn said. The types of programs children watch are also important; young children should watch shows meant for their age group, rather than watching PG-13 or R-rated movies, or playing Teen-rated games.

More than half of the parents interviewed knew that the AAP recommends a maximum of two hours of screen time per day and most parents who reported that their child had too much screen time were worried that this was the case. Though the AAP recommends
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Contact: Katie Sauer
Katie_Sauer@urmc.rochester.edu
585-276-4298
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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