High levels of screen time and low levels of physical activity (PA) are associated with childhood obesity. Sixty minutes or less for daily screen time and at least 180 minutes of PA, including 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA), are current recommendations for preschoolers. The home environment, including the physical environment and parent attributes, may impact screen time and PA among children.
To examine whether screen time and PA levels of preschoolers relate home environment and parental attributes.
Study Design, Setting, Participants
The HEROs (HEalthy EnviROnments) study is a technology-based, interactive intervention to promote healthy eating and PA among preschoolers in rural Colorado.
Data describing the home environment was collected at baseline (Fall 2019/Winter 2020) including demographics, anthropometrics, child and parent screen time, and home electronic and PA equipment availability and access. Accelerometers were used to collect 7 days of objective PA and sedentary time for children and parents. Descriptive statistics and independent samples t tests were conducted.
Parent-child dyads (n = 32; 39.4% Hispanic) were included in the study. Children had low levels of MVPA (mean = 13.3 min, SD = 7.5) and none met MVPA recommendations. Further, 60.6% exceeded screen time recommendations. Parents of children who met screen time recommendations were more likely to have a post-high school education (t = 3.063, P = 0.005 than those who did not meet recommendations. No group differences were noted in child or parent BMI, MVPA, sedentary time, the availability of PA equipment, number or type of screens children had access to, or parent screen time.
Screen time is high and physical activity is low among this sample of preschoolers. Given children's high engagement in screen time, future intervention efforts using digital strategies to increase PA could be undertaken.