Screen time increases hypertension risk in kids

Presented at the World Congress of Cardiology meeting today in Melbourne, the study measured the relationship between physical inactivity, sedentary behaviours and fitness on blood pressure in 8- to 10-year-olds at high risk of obesity.

While the association of these factors are can predict hypertension in adults, their relationship in children is not well established. Because blood pressure tracks from childhood to adulthood, assessing levels in youth could help prevent children from the risk of cardiovascular disease, the researchers said.

Using an accelerometer, they tracked the physical activity of 630 children over the course of a week. Blood pressure readings were taken each day and children also filled out validated questionnaires reporting physical inactivity from TV viewing, computer use, video game playing, studying and reading. 

Disturbingly, researchers found that children who reported spending two hours or more in front of a screen