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Health & Parenting

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Watching TV a Kid Gig?

TV, Videos, and Computers Eat Up as Much Time as Full-Time Job for Some Teens, Study Shows
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

March 12, 2008 -- Some teens spend as much time using a computer or watching TV and videos as it takes to work a full-time job.

That news comes from a Canadian study of nearly 1,300 teens in Montreal.

The teens completed four surveys a year for five years, starting in 1999, when they were in seventh grade. The surveys tracked "screen time," which includes TV, computers, and videos.

Here are the results:

  • 52% of boys and 26% of girls reported average total screen time of more than 42 hours per week.
  • 52% of boys and 39% of girls reported watching TV and videos for more than 23 hours per week, on average.
  • 24% of boys and 7% of girls reported spending almost 30 hours per week, on average, using a computer or surfing the Internet.

The American Heart Association posted those findings in a news release for its 48th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology.

Children in low-income neighborhoods tended to report more screen time than kids in wealthier areas, note Tracie Barnett, PhD, and colleagues.

"We should make sure that teens living in these neighborhoods have access to safe and appealing active alternatives to sitting in front of screens," Barnett says in a news release.

Barnett's team will present its study today at the American Heart Association's conference in Colorado Springs, Colo.

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