Physical activity protects children from the adverse effects of digital media on their weight later in adolescence

A child's excessive use of digital media is linked to an increased risk of becoming overweight as an adult. Children can avoid the negative effects of digital media on weight later in their adolescence by engaging in physical activity.Recent research shows that a reduced risk of becoming overweight at age 14 is associated with excessive digital media use. Six hours of leisure time physical activity per week helps to reduce the risk.Children and adolescents are among the most serious health challenges in the world. The Folkhlsan Research Center in Helsinki and the University of Helsinki examined whether there was a link between digital media use by Finnish school-age children, and later weight gain. The study also examined whether physical activity of children may have an impact on this possibility.These results were published in Journal of Physical Activity and Health.Screen time is reversed by more than six hours of exercise per weekThe study included 4,661 Finnish Health in Teens study participants. Participants reported the amount of time they spent using digital media and how active they were outside school hours. Study results showed that children who were less than six hours per week engaged in physical activity outside school hours had a higher risk of becoming overweight at the age of 11. This link was not found in children who were physically active for six hours or more per week.Other factors that could influence obesity were also considered in the study, including childhood eating habits, sleep quality, and digital media usage and physical activity during adolescence. Despite the many confounding factors, the positive role of physical activity in childhood was confirmed in the link between digital media use and later-life obesity.Follow the recommendationsElina Engberg, Postdoctoral Researcher, says that "the effect of physical activity in the association between digital media usage and being overweight hasn't been extensively explored in follow-up studies to date."More research is required to understand how much sedentary use of digital media increases the risk that you will become overweight. Also, how much and how intense physical activity are needed to prevent such an outcome. The children reported their level of activity, including digital media use, in this study. However, further research is needed to determine if there are any other factors that could influence the outcome.Engberg says that a good rule of thumb is to follow the physical activity guidelines. These guidelines state that children and teens aged between 6 and 18 years old should exercise in a varied, strenuous, and brisk manner for at most 60 minutes per day. This will be in accordance with their age. Excessive and prolonged sedentary activities should be avoided.