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Less screen time for children is linked to better cognition, study says

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Less screen time for children is linked to better cognition, study says

Less screen time for children is linked to better cognition, study says
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Less than two hours of recreational screen time for children is linked to better cognition, according to an observational study in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.

The study analysed data from 4,520 children aged eight to 11 years, from 20 sites across the USA.

It found that limiting screen time to less than two hours a day, in addition to having sufficient sleep and physical activity, is associated with improved cognition.

However, only one in 20 US children in the study met the three recommendations advised by the Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines to ensure good cognitive development.

The recommendations are: 9-11 hours of sleep per night, less than two hours of recreational screen time, and at least an hour of physical activity every day.

The more individual recommendations the child met, the better their cognition.

“Another important finding is that children who met the sleep and screen recommendations or who met the screen time alone had the strongest favourable outcomes for their cognition compared to kids who did not meet the recommendations” said Dr Jeremy Walsh, the report's lead author.

Although the report was focused on children in the US, Walsh says the findings could be applicable in any country.

“I think we need to take a good hard look at our habits around using screens and I think that these guidelines of no more than two hours of recreational screen time per day could be a good starting point to other countries, to start looking at how cognition is affected in their populations and start to make some rules around the limits on children’s screen time use” said Dr Walsh.