Experts warn: Parents need to get teenagers off their screens

Parents need to get teenagers off their screens and moving in order to stave off long-term health problems, experts say.

Cancer Council Australia and the National Heart Foundation say secondary school students are watching more screen media than ever before.

Nearly 60 per cent of teens have access to at least three TVs at home and 40 per cent have one in their bedroom.

Four in 10 students have video games in their bedroom.

Despite the updated National Secondary Students’ Diet and Activity Survey showing a marginal improvement in teenagers’ physical activity in recent years, levels still remain “critically low”, says Craig Sinclair, the chair of Cancer Council’s public health committee.

“As a parent, I know how fixated kids can be with their electronic devices, but we have to get our kids moving,” says Mr Sinclair.

Heart Foundation CEO Mary Barry says nearly a quarter of the 9,000 students in years 8 to 11 who were surveyed are either overweight or obese.

“Overweight and obesity among young people is a significant public health issue in Australia, with overweight adolescents being at increased risk of becoming overweight adults and experiencing chronic diseases such as heart disease,” Ms Barry said.

Nearly 80 per cent of Australian teenagers are clocking up more than two hours of screen time on school days, compared with 71 per cent in 2009.

And 89 per cent are exceeding the recommended two hours of screen time per day on weekends, up from 83 per cent in 2009.

Source: AAP

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