*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on MedicalXpress.
Teens need to regularly switch screen time for physical activity for the sake of their health and mental wellbeing, according to a University of Queensland-led study.
Researchers have linked harmful effects on adolescents’ mental health to screen time exceeding two hours a day for girls and four hours a day for boys.
UQ School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences researcher Associate Professor Asad Khan said the global study investigated data from more than 577,000 adolescents aged 13 to 15 years across 42 high-income countries.
“We found there were some benefits during the first hour of daily screen use, but detrimental effects of recreational screen use on mental wellbeing kick in after 75 minutes in girls and 105 minutes in boys,” Dr. Khan said.
“Excess screen time effects can include depression, obesity, poor quality of life, unhealthy diet and decreased physical and cognitive abilities.
“Whereas regular physical activity can improve physical fitness, cardiometabolic health, bone health, academic performance, executive function, mental health and can reduce weight gain.
“Combining increased physical activity with reduced screen time showed a gradual beneficial effect on mental wellbeing across genders.
“One hour of physical activity and no more than two hours of screen time a day provided optimal mental wellbeing.”
The study was conducted in collaboration with Queen’s University and the University of Ottawa, Canada; University of New South Wales, and the Queensland University of Technology.
The study was published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.