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Worse case with too much screen time

Worse case with too much screen time

Researchers at the School of Gymnastics and Sports have investigated the relationship between physical fitness, physical activity, screen time, and organized sports. The purpose of the research was to investigate the relationship between fitness, screen time, movement patterns, and participation in organized sports for Swedish youth.

The results showed that those who spent five hours or more in front of screens a day on weekdays had lower fitness than those who had less, says Karen Kellenberg, a doctoral student.

More than 1,100 students aged 13-14 from 34 schools were included in the study. Students have completed several tests at the GIH, including the EKBLOM-BAK, a fitness test on a bicycle. They also answered a survey about their screen time and participation in organized sports. For seven days, carry a rangefinder that measures physical activity and inactivity.

The results showed differences in fitness between the different groups. Those who are very fit move more or have been active in club sports. Those with low physical fitness have a high incidence of sitting or screens.

It is alarming that many young people spend a lot of time in front of a screen, especially when we see an association between screen time and decreased fitness. We also see that young people who spend more time in front of screens spend less time in high-intensity physical activity and more time sitting quietly, says Karin Kjellenberg.

Five hours backstage over the weekend

Just over 70 percent of young people participated in club sports and there was no difference in sports participation between boys and girls, or how often they participated in those activities. However, only one in three participants met the NHS recommendations, which are at least 60 minutes of moderate to high-intensity physical activity per day. On weekdays, 20 percent of young people spend five or more hours in front of a screen, and on weekends, that number has risen to nearly 50 percent.

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The results of the research study could be an important basis for developing efforts to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary lifestyles in young people.

It is positive to see a relationship between physical fitness and participation in club sports. It’s important to find initiatives that work in our spare time because we have a large percentage of young people who move very little, says Gisela Nyberg, associate professor and lead author of the study.

Physical activity for children and youth 6-17 years

  • All children and youth between 6 and 17 years of age should be physically active during the week, both on weekdays and on weekends.
  • Long periods of sedentary life should be interrupted and replaced with some form of physical activity.
  • The average pulse-increasing physical activity is 60 minutes per day
  • Children and adolescents should, on average, be physically active for at least 60 minutes per day, at moderate to high intensity, which results in an increased heart rate and breathing.
  • Vigorous physical activity and activities that strengthen muscles and bones at least three days a week

High-intensity physical activity provides a significant increase in heart rate and breathing. These activities should include at least three days a week, in addition to physical activity to strengthen muscles and strengthen the skeleton. The activities can be a normal part of playing, running and jumping, or as part of the exercise and sports planned at school or in your spare time.

Source: Recommendations for physical and sedentary activity, Public Health Agency

Scientific material:

Association between physical activity patterns, screen time, and levels of cardiovascular fitness in Swedish adolescents.

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Karin Kjellenberg, GIH PhD student, [email protected]
Gisela Nyberg, GIH Lecturer, [email protected]
Louise Ekstrom, PR GIH Press Talk, [email protected]