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      Association of Screen Time Usage and Physical Activity With Overweight and Obesity Among School-Going Children in Uttar Pradesh

      1 , 1 , , 1 , 2 , 1
      prevalence, early intervention, physical activity, screen time, childhood obesity

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          Being overweight during childhood refers to excess weight for a given height, while obesity denotes excess body fat. These conditions stem from surplus calorie intake and insufficient physical activity. Escalating pediatric obesity is linked to modern sedentary lifestyles, marked by increased screen time, reduced exercise, and poor diets. Once believed to be a concern in affluent nations, obesity now affects developing countries like India due to changing eating habits and urbanization. Despite limitations in measurement tools, such as body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference, recognizing sedentary behaviors such as prolonged screen time is pivotal. The rapidly rising prevalence of pediatric obesity has become a major public health concern; therefore, we conducted this study to determine the prevalence and association of screen time usage with being overweight in school-going children (aged 8-15 years).


          This observational, cross-sectional study was conducted in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh over 18 months (January 2019 to June 2020) after obtaining institutional ethical committee approval. Participants were 8 to 15-year-old students from three co-educational secondary schools in the region. Children with motor or developmental disabilities were excluded. Written informed parental consent and school permission were secured. Anthropometric measurements included weight (SECA 874 U scale) and height (SECA213 stadiometer), which were used to calculate BMI. Overweight/obesity status followed the Indian Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. A validated questionnaire assessed screen time, and a validated Physical Activity Questionnaire measured physical activity. Both questionnaires were administered twice to validate data. SPSS version 23.0 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA) was used for data analyses (descriptive, t-test, analysis of variance (ANOVA) test, and chi-square test). P-values <0.05 were considered significant.


          This study involved 604 participants. Among them, 47.7% had a normal BMI, 37.4% were overweight, and 14.9% were obese. Most participants (97.4%) reported screen time of over 60 minutes daily, while 2.6% reported lower screen time. ANOVA revealed significant differences in daily (F = 16.014, p < 0.001) and weekly (F = 16.175, p < 0.001) screen time among BMI categories. Low physical activity was prevalent (97.7%). ANOVA showed significant variations in physical activity scores and durations (p < 0.001), with normal-weight individuals exhibiting higher levels.


          The rising prevalence of overweight among children underscores the need for early intervention strategies, emphasizing the importance of reducing screen time and promoting increased physical activity. These measures are critical in addressing the growing challenge of being overweight during childhood and its potential long-term health implications.

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          Most cited references29

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          Media and Young Minds.

          Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are now growing up in environments saturated with a variety of traditional and new technologies, which they are adopting at increasing rates. Although there has been much hope for the educational potential of interactive media for young children, accompanied by fears about their overuse during this crucial period of rapid brain development, research in this area still remains limited. This policy statement reviews the existing literature on television, videos, and mobile/interactive technologies; their potential for educational benefit; and related health concerns for young children (0 to 5 years of age). The statement also highlights areas in which pediatric providers can offer specific guidance to families in managing their young children's media use, not only in terms of content or time limits, but also emphasizing the importance of parent-child shared media use and allowing the child time to take part in other developmentally healthy activities.
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            Measuring general levels of physical activity: preliminary evidence for the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Children

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              Estimates of young children's time with television: a methodological comparison of parent reports with time-lapse video home observation.

              Accurate information on behavior of young children at home is crucial to the study of child development. The present study compared parent diaries of 5-year-old children's time spent with television to concurrent automated time-lapse video observations. In addition, a number of control groups were employed to assess the effects of observational equipment in the homes. The sample consisted of 334 mostly white middle-class families, of whom 106 had observational equipment installed. Results indicated no systematic subject selection of families who were willing to have observational equipment as compared to the controls. In addition, there were no differences in reported viewing behavior between the observed families and controls. Of 3 types of parent estimates of 5-year-old TV viewing, concurrent diaries correlated best with video observation (r = .84) and produced a very small absolute mean time error. Direct parent estimates of typical time spent viewing produced smaller correlations and large overestimates as compared with diaries.

                Author and article information

                Cureus (Palo Alto (CA) )
                25 October 2023
                October 2023
                : 15
                : 10
                : e47690
                [1 ] Pediatrics, School of Medical Sciences and Research, Greater Noida, IND
                [2 ] Pediatrics, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, IND
                Author notes
                Copyright © 2023, Kaul et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                : 10 October 2023
                Preventive Medicine

                prevalence,early intervention,physical activity,screen time,childhood obesity


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