Current estimates suggest that young people spend 5-10 hours per day sedentary, of which 2-4 hours is spent engaged in screen-based recreation (i.e., TV, computer and electronic gaming). Notably, studies have demonstrated that excessive recreational screen-time is associated with a range of psychological health concerns, including social anxiety, attention problems and low self-esteem. Excessive screen-time increases children’s potential exposure to cyber-bullying and media violence, both of which have implications for their social and emotional well-being. Furthermore, screen-time is associated with the intake of nutrient poor, high energy density foods, which increases young people’s susceptibility to weight gain.
Project novelty, importance and outcomes:
There is emerging evidence that interventions targeting screen-time may be more effective in reducing obesity that physical activity interventions, yet the challenges of reducing young people’s screen-time has been noted in the literature. The proposed project will involve the development of an intervention to support parents and encourage students to manage their screen-time using a range of evidence-based strategies and an innovative smartphone application that has the potential to be disseminated to schools across the country. In summary, the proposed intervention may assist in reducing rates of obesity and improving social and emotional well-being in Australian adolescents.
Associate Professor David Lubans, Ron Plotnikoff, Philip Morgan, Chris Lonsdale, Amanda Baker, Geoff Skinner, Narelle Eather