The American Heart Association (AHA) has issued a scientific statement on sedentary behaviors in today’s youth and subsequent approaches to the prevention and management of childhood obesity. The statement discusses sedentary behavior and its relationship to obesity and other cardiometabolic outcomes in youth, especially in adolescents, who are the most sedentary of pediatric populations and are engaged in the most total recreational screen-based media. Among the AHA’s findings and recommendations:
- School-aged children are sedentary for approximately 8 of their daily waking hours on average; most are engaging in excessive screen time, which increases substantially with age, most notably during preadolescence.
- Screen time is associated with adiposity and often persists after adjustment for diet and physical activity.
- The effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce sedentary behavior appears to vary by weight status and appear to be more effective in younger school-aged children.
- Daily device-free social interactions and outdoor play should be encouraged.
- Parents/guardians should devise and enforce appropriate screen time regulations and model healthy screen-based behaviors.
Barnett TA, Kelly AS, Young DR, et al. Sedentary behaviors in today’s youth: Approaches to the prevention and management of childhood obesity. [Published online ahead of print August 6, 2018]. Circulation. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000591.