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Young Kids' Screen Time May Raise Blood Pressure
Date:8/3/2009

Watching TV raises risk more than other low-level activities, such as painting, study finds

MONDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Young children who spend too much time in front of the television, the computer and video games might be at increased risk for high blood pressure, a new study suggests.

American and Spanish researchers examined the association between sedentary behavior and blood pressure in 111 boys and girls, 3 to 8 years old. For seven days, the children wore a special device that recorded their activity levels. In addition, their parents reported how much time the youngsters spent watching TV, playing video games, painting, sitting or doing other low-level activities.

The researchers also measured the children's height, weight, fat mass and blood pressure.

TV time was defined as time spent watching TV, videotapes or DVDs. Screen time was defined as the total amount of time using a TV, video, computer or video game.

The children were sedentary an average of five hours a day and had an average of 1.5 hours of screen time each day. Boys spent more time using computers than girls, but they spent about the same amount of time on other sedentary behaviors.

"Sedentary activity was not significantly related to systolic blood pressure [the top number in a reading] or diastolic [bottom number] blood pressure, after controlling for age, sex, height and percentage of body fat," wrote David Martinez-Gomez, of Iowa State University and the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid, and his colleagues. "However, TV viewing and screen time, but not computer use, were positively associated with both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure after adjusting for potential confounders."

They noted that children with the lowest amount of TV and screen time had lower levels of systolic and diastolic blood pressure than kids with the highest amounts of TV and screen time.


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