TIME Research

Teens Are Spending a Ton of Time In Front of Screens, CDC Says

The majority of young people spend a lot of time in front of the TV or computer

A recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows 98.5% of young people between ages 12–15 report watching TV daily, and 91.1% report using a computer every day outside of school. And the vast majority of them were getting more than two hours a day of screen time, which is the upper limit recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Girls were slightly more likely to follow that guideline than boys.

The study also found that obese and overweight kids were more likely to have more screen time.

Spending excessive time using a computer and watching TV has been linked to higher blood pressure, higher cholesterol, and being overweight or obese. We also know how bad sitting is for your health, and most screen time happens in people who aren’t moving around. That’s why adolescent groups recommend a two-hour cap. You can see the data break-down below.

Percentage of youth aged 12–15 reporting 2 hours or less of TV viewing and computer use daily, by sex: United States, 2012

SOURCES: CDC/NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and NHANES National Youth Fitness Survey, 2012. CDC National Center for Health Statistics

Percentage of youth aged 12–15 reporting 2 hours or less of TV viewing and computer use daily, by weight status: United States, 2012

SOURCES: CDC/NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and NHANES National Youth Fitness Survey, 2012. CDC National Center for Health Statistics

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