Psychological distress, television viewing, and physical activity in children aged 4 to 12 years

Hamer, Mark, Stamatakis, Emmanuel and Mishra, Gita (2009) Psychological distress, television viewing, and physical activity in children aged 4 to 12 years. Pediatrics, 123 5: 1263-1268. doi:10.1542/peds.2008-1523


Author Hamer, Mark
Stamatakis, Emmanuel
Mishra, Gita
Title Psychological distress, television viewing, and physical activity in children aged 4 to 12 years
Journal name Pediatrics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0031-4005
1098-4275
Publication date 2009-05-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1542/peds.2008-1523
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 123
Issue 5
Start page 1263
End page 1268
Total pages 6
Place of publication Elk Grove Village, IL, United States
Publisher American Academy of Pediatrics
Language eng
Abstract OBJECTIVES. Sedentary behavior and physical activity may be independent risk factors for psychological distress in adolescents, although there is no existing information for children. We examined the cross-sectional association between psychological distress, television and screen entertainment time, and physical activity levels among a representative sample of children aged 4 to 12 years from the 2003 Scottish Health Survey.
Formatted abstract
OBJECTIVES. Sedentary behavior and physical activity may be independent risk factors for psychological distress in adolescents, although there is no existing information for children. We examined the cross-sectional association between psychological distress, television and screen entertainment time, and physical activity levels among a representative sample of children aged 4 to 12 years from the 2003 Scottish Health Survey.

METHODS. Participants were 1486 boys and girls (mean age: 8.5 ± 2.3 years). Parents answered on behalf of children who were required to be present. The parents completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and information on television and screen entertainment time, physical activity, and dietary intake of their children.

RESULTS. An abnormally high Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire total difficulties score (20–40) was found in 4.2% of the sample. Approximately 25% of the children were exposed to television and screen entertainment at least 3 hours/day. In general linear models, television and screen entertainment time per week and physical activity levels were independently associated with the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire total difficulties score after adjustment for age, gender, area deprivation level, single-parent status, medical conditions, and various dietary intake indicators. There was also an additive interaction effect showing that the combination of high television and screen entertainment time and low physical activity was associated with the highest Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire score. Higher television and screen entertainment exposure (>2.7 hours/day) alone resulted in a 24% increase in the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire score in comparison with lower television and screen entertainment exposure (<1.6 hours/day), although when combined with low physical activity this resulted in a 46% increase.

CONCLUSION. Higher levels of television and screen entertainment time and low physical activity levels interact to increase psychological distress in young children.
Keyword sedentary
physical activity
mental health
depression
children
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: ERA 2012 Admin Only
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