Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Teens' Screen Time May Affect Their Bone Health

Researchers in Norway found contrasting bone density results in boys, girls

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, April 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Spending too much time sitting in front of screens may be linked to poorer bone health in teen boys, according to a new study from Norway.

It included 484 boys and 463 girls, aged 15 to 18, who underwent bone mineral density tests. They were asked about lifestyle habits, including how much time they spent in front of the television or computer on weekends, and their levels of physical activity.

Boys had higher levels of screen time than girls, the researchers found. And the more time boys spent in front of a computer and the TV, the lower their bone mineral density throughout the body.

However, girls with four to six hours of screen time had higher bone mineral density than those with less than 1.5 hours of screen time per day.

The study was scheduled for presentation Friday at the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases, in Seville, Spain. The findings also appear in the April issue of Osteoporosis International.

"Bone mineral density is a strong predictor of future fracture risk. Our findings for girls are intriguing and definitely merit further exploration in other studies and population groups," lead author Dr. Anne Winther, at the Arctic University of Norway, in Tromso, said in an International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) news release.

"The findings for boys on the other hand clearly show that sedentary lifestyle during adolescence can impact on [bone mineral density] and thus compromise the acquisition of peak bone mass," she added. "This can have a negative impact in terms of osteoporosis and fracture risk later in life."

While the study found an association between teens' screen time and their bone density levels, it did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

The skeleton grows from birth to the end of the teen years and bones reach their maximum strength and size in early adulthood. Nutrition and physical activity are major factors in bone growth. That's why there is growing concern over the effects of inactivity on youngsters' bone health, according to the IOF.

About one in five men older than 50 will suffer a fracture due to osteoporosis, but levels of awareness about osteoporosis risk and bone health in males are extremely low, the IOF pointed out. This concern led the group to make osteoporosis in men a key focus of 2014 World Osteoporosis Day in October.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration