Reduced Screen Time and Increased Step Counts Linked to Lower BMI

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

When my brothers and I were growing up, my parents rarely let us play video games, surf the internet, or watch hours of tv shows and movies. Instead, they wanted us to entertain ourselves in other more beneficial ways. So, my brothers and I usually spent most of our time playing outside or working alongside our parents on the farm. While at the time we thought my parents were uncool for not letting us play video games or peruse the internet and making us do more physical activities, as we’ve gotten older, we’ve seen how it was all for the better!

3. Exercise! I know you might not want to, but getting up in the morning and exercising is a great way to start your day! Endorphins are released when you exercise, which make you feel good! Who doesn’t want to feel good in the morning?

On the topic of reduced screen time and higher activity levels, a recent study found that there was a relationship between adolescent’s body mass index (BMI) and the amount of time they spent behind a screen versus their step count for the day.

The study looked at 5797 individuals, and the average screen time was 6.5 hours while the average step count was 9246.6 steps per day. Those who spent 4-8 hours or over 8 hours on a screen were more likely to be overweight or obese than those who spent less than 4 hours on a screen.

But it isn’t just time behind a screen that is important. Daily step count plays a large role as well. The study also found that regardless of high or low amounts of screen time, those who had a very low step count each day had a higher BMI than those who had high step counts each day. Overall, individuals who had both a low screen time and high step counts had the most ideal BMI.

With that being said, make sure that your teens are getting enough steps and physical activity each day rather than spending lots of time behind a screen. For fun activity ideas or for more articles on health, check out the Fill Your Plate blog!

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