1. Lipman, Terri H. PhD, CRNP, FAAN

Article Content

Laurson, K. R., Eisenmann, J. C., Welk, G. J., Wickel, E. E., Gentile, D. A., Walsh, D. A. (2008).The Journal of Pediatrics, 153, 209-214.


Data have demonstrated that physical activity and screen time (i.e., watching television, playing video games) are factors associated with the development of obesity in children. Current guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend 30 minutes of vigorous exercise and no more than 2 hours of screen time per day.


Are children who spend more time in front of a screen less active or are the variables independent? The purpose of this study was to examine the combined influence of activity and screen time and to evaluate the current public policy recommendations.

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Data were collected from 700 elementary school children. Screen time was assessed by a survey and physical activity was evaluated using a pedometer. Only 50% of the boys met the recommendation for screen time or activity; 67% of the girls met one of the recommendations. The girls spent less screen time than the boys. Children who met both recommendations for screen time and activity were significantly less likely to be obese than children who met one or neither of the guidelines.


This study is replete with implications for pediatric nurses. First, we must be committed to helping children meet the APA recommendations geared to decrease the obesity epidemic. When we encourage children to be active we must present options that are accessible, safe, and inexpensive. Dancing is an activity that is enjoyable for many youths, is excellent exercise, and can be done in the home. It is essential to talk to parents about decreasing their children's screen time. Computers, instant messaging, and personal Web pages are integral in the social interaction of adolescents. But computer communication should be monitored by parents and limited. Hospitals often use televisions and computer games to entertain children in the inpatient setting. Children who can ambulate would be better served doing some type of low impact activity. Lastly, pediatric nurses should be advocates in the policy arena to ensure that gym class remains part of school curriculum and that after school sports are not eliminated.