Abstract 219: The Impact of Handheld devices on Healthy Lifestyles among School Age Children: A Report from Project Healthy Schools
BACKGROUND: Project Healthy Schools (PHS) is an initiative designed to promote healthy lifestyles in middle school-age children in Michigan. Following the introduction of smartphones and portable video game platforms such as the Play Station Portable more children are using these devices. This trend has led to an increase in screen time in preteens resulting in less time being spent on more active, health-promoting activities. This study aims to analyze the relationship between the increase in technology and handheld/gaming devices and the impact on student’s lifestyle behaviors participating in PHS.
METHODS: Data on sedentary behaviors were collected from 4,021 middle school students by a self-reported questionnaire. The questionnaire is completed by all participants of PHS at baseline and after completion of the program. The questionnaire focuses on dietary habits, physical activity and sedentary behaviors. Sedentary behavior (screen time) questions included amount of time spent watching TV, playing video games or playing on the computer. In order to determine if technology use was impacting this cohort, baseline survey results were analyzed over a 6 year period. Because the exposure to technology could be associated to socioeconomic status (SE) of the schools, we balanced the sample in SE (based on median household income) through stratified simple random sampling without replacement. Screen times were categorized into high screen time (> 120 min /day) and low screen time (≤ 120 min/day).
RESULTS: The trends of different types of screen time were plotted from 2008 to 2013 (2010 data were excluded to avoid the bias caused by the extremely small sample size of this year). A consistent trend of a high percentage of TV viewers was present each year. However, the percentage of students categorized as high computer game users and high video game users increased with each year (Table 1).
CONCLUSIONS: There was a significant increase in both time spent playing on the computer and time spent playing video games between the years 2008 - 2013. It’s possible the introduction of smartphones and portable video games has contributed to this trend. It is essential for wellness programs such as PHS to focus on the importance of limiting the amount of time spent playing screen games while promoting increased physical activity to this age group.
Author Disclosures: A. Lee: None. Q. Jiang: None. R. Rogers: None. B. Vuong: None. W. Wei: None. A. Pew: None. A. Foti: None. N. Corriveau: None. E. Kline-Rogers: None. C. Goldberg: None. J. DuRussel-Weston: None. E.A. Jackson: B. Research Grant; Significant; NIH. D. Speakers; Modest; American Physicians Institute for Advance Professional Studies, National Association for Continuing Education. G. Consultant/Advisory Board; Modest; Pfizer, American College of Cardiology, Up-To-Date, Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at Eisenhower, McKesson, Inc. K.A. Eagle: B. Research Grant; Modest; Hewlett Foundation. B. Research Grant; Significant; GORE. G. Consultant/Advisory Board; Modest; NHLBI, NIH.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.