Fewer than four in 10 elementary school-age children met recommended guidelines for both daily physical activity and screen-time viewing, according to a study published online today in JAMA Pediatrics (formerly the Archive of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine).
The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the first-ever such guidelines from the federal government, recommended that children engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) on a daily basis. The guidelines also recommend limiting a child to a maximum of two hours of leisure screen-time viewing per day.
Researchers examined data from 1,218 children ages 6-11, taken from the 2009-10 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, to determine how many of them met both recommendations simultaneously.
More than 70 percent of the children in the study ended up meeting the recommended 60 minutes or more of MVPA per day, while only 3.2 percent did not engage in 60 or more minutes of MVPA on any day of the week. A total of 53.5 percent of the children were exposed to two or fewer hours per day of screen-time viewing; however, only 38.3 percent of the children studied ended up meeting both recommendations simultaneously.
Not surprisingly, a smaller percentage of obese children met the MVPA and screen-time viewing guidelines compared with their non-obese peers. Only 57.5 percent of the obese children met the MVPA recommendation and 44.2 percent met the screen-time viewing guideline. Comparatively, 73.3 percent of nonobese children were active for at least 60 minutes per day, and 55.4 percent had two or fewer hours of leisure screen-time viewing on a daily basis. <Read more.>