Limiting A Child’s Screen Time Linked To Better Cognition, Study Says

September 27, 2018
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Limiting a child’s screen time to less than 2 hours a day, along with sufficient sleep and physical activity, is associated with improved cognition.

This is according to a study published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

The study consisted of about 4,500 US children aged between 8 and 11 and measured their habits against the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth.

The study found that 51% of the kids got the recommended 9 to 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, 37% met the recreational screen time limit of 2 hours or less per day, while 18% met the physical activity recommendation 60 minutes minimum, of accumulated physical activity a day.

  • Just 5% of the kids in the study met all 3 recommendations;
  • 30% met none at all

The participants slept 9.1 hours per night on average, had 3.6 hours of recreational screen time per day and hit the physical activity goal 3.7 days per week.

Results showed that as each recommendation was met by a participant, there was a positive association with global cognition, which includes memory, attention, processing speed and language.

The children who met all 3 had the most “superior” global cognition, followed by those meeting the sleep and screen time recommendation and finally the screen time recommendation alone, according to the study.

“We know that the behaviors of physical activity, sleep and screen time can independently impact the cognitive health of a child. However, these behaviors are never considered in combination,” said Jeremy Walsh, lead author of the study “We really had an opportunity here to look at how meeting each of these guidelines and meeting all of the guidelines relate to cognition in a large sample of American children.”

Walsh believes that having good screen habits may help encourage usage within recommended durations and the benefits that come with it.

“I think that the overarching goal here is that parents should consider the whole 24-hour day of their children,” he said, “and put realistic rules or limits in place for how long they are on their screens for, having bed time rules, and making sure to encourage physical activity.”

Well, there you have it!

 

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