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A third of youths watch more than 2 hours of TV

Monday July 14, 2014
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Nearly 35% of youths age 12-15 watch TV for more than two hours a day, and 25.2% used the computer more than two hours a day, according to a July 2014 National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children limit leisure screen time to two hours or fewer daily, according to a news release. Excessive screen-time behaviors have been linked with elevated blood pressure, elevated serum cholesterol and obesity among youths, according to studies.

The brief “TV Watching and Computer Use in U.S. Youth Aged 12–15, 2012” discussed data gathered from the 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the National Youth Fitness Survey. The findings also showed 6.9% of youths watch TV for five hours or more a day, and 5.1% of youths use a computer for five hours or more a day.

In 2012, 27% of youths age 12-15 watched the recommended amount of two hours or fewer of TV plus computer use daily.

The percentage of youths reporting two hours or less of total screen time did not differ by gender. However, computer use did show a gender difference: 8 in 10 (80.4%) girls and almost 7 in 10 (69.4%) boys reported using a computer for two hours or fewer daily.

In 2012, 25% of boys and 29% of girls age 12-15 met the AAP-recommended limit for screen time. This estimate was based on reported TV watching and computer use outside of school, and included video games.

As weight status increased, the proportion of youths who met the recommendation decreased from 30.6% among underweight or normal weight youths to 20% in obese youths, according to the brief.

The percentage of youths reporting TV plus computer use for two hours or less daily was higher for non-Hispanic white (29.4%) than non-Hispanic black (20.0%) youths. There were differences by race and Hispanic origin in the percentage of youths who watched TV for two hours or fewer, but not for computer use, according to the brief. About half (53.4%) of non-Hispanic black youths reported two hours or fewer of TV watching daily compared with 65.8% of non-Hispanic white and 68.7% of Hispanic youths.

Nearly all (98.5%) youths age 12-15 reported watching TV daily and about 90% reported using the computer daily outside of school.

For more information, read the NCHS brief at www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db157.pdf.


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