Zhang P, Tang X, Peng X, et al. Effect of screen time intervention on obesity among children and adolescent: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. Prev Med. 2022 Apr;157:107014. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2022.107014. Epub 2022 Mar 3. (Systematic review)

Several studies have investigated the effect of screen time interventions on obesity in children and adolescents, but the existing results were controversial. This study aimed to analyze the effect of screen time intervention on obesity in children and adolescents. PubMed, Cochrane, Web of Science, Embase databases were searched through December 2020 to identify publications meeting a priori inclusion criteria and references in the published articles were also reviewed. Finally, 14 randomized controlled trials and 1894 subjects were included in this meta-analysis. The results showed that interventions targeting screen time are effective in reducing total screen time (MD: -6.90 h/week, 95% CI: [-9.19 to -4.60], p < 0.001) and television time (MD: -6.17 h/week, 95% CI: [-10.70 to -1.65], p < 0.001) in children and adolescents. However, there was no significant difference between the intervention and control groups in body mass index and body mass index-z score. In conclusion, there is no evidence that screen time interventions alone can decrease obesity risk in children and adolescents, though they can effectively reduce screen time.

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Physician 5 / 7
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Comments from MORE raters

Physician rater

Not a surprising conclusion. The only way a reduction in screen time would be expected to impact obesity would be if diet and exercise were put in place of screen time.

Physician rater

The study only confirms what we know in practice.

Physician rater

Meta-analysis of screen time interventions indicate they may reduce screen time, but that reduction does not seem to affect BMI.
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