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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.350
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.476

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Decreasing screen time and/or increasing exercise only helps in certain situations for young adults

Ronald Chow
Published Online: 2017-08-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0100


There seems to be a lack of consensus about whether greater screen time is highly correlated to greater body mass index (BMI) (and lower physical exercise). What has been proven is that the vast majority of children and adolescents spend a “lot of time” indulging in screen-based leisure. The aim of this study was to investigate, among young adults, screen time and physical activity/fitness. A questionnaire was developed and circulated to young adults via media networks (i.e. email, social media platforms, etc.). There was no geographic restriction, and the survey was designed in English. Two people did not consent to the study, while 262 consented and completed the survey. The vast majority of participants resided in Canada, with a noticeable minority living in the United Kingdom and the United States. Of the participants, 46% were 18 or 19 years old, 30% were between the ages of 20 and 22 years and the remaining 24% were split evenly between the age cohorts of under 18 years and over 22 years. Four of 262 (2%) participants did not disclose their sex, 66% reported as female and 32% noted they were male. The BMI ranged from 14.4525 to 39.5325, and had a mean of 22.8155 and standard deviation of 4.1939. Among people who spent less than 4 h of exercise a week, those who spent more than 5 h on screen time based activities had a higher BMI (p = 0.0032) of 23.8151 vs. 21.7879 for those who spent less than 5 h. There was no relation between screen time and BMI among people who spent more than 4 h of exercise a week (p = 0.6209). Between exercise groups who spent less than 5 h of screen time a day, there was no relation between hours of exercise and BMI (p = 0.1242). There seems to exist a trend that among those who spend more than 5 h of screen time a day, less exercise is related to higher BMI (p = 0.0510) – 23.8151 vs. 22.4361. Healthy lifestyle choices such as fewer screen time hours and more exercise can be beneficial to young adults. Among certain groups, such as those who spend a lot of time on screens and those who do not exercise regularly, the benefits of more exercise and less screen time, respectively, are much more noticeable.

Keywords: body mass index; exercise; screen time; young adults


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About the article

Received: 2017-06-13

Accepted: 2017-07-16

Published Online: 2017-08-24

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20170100, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0100.

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