Screen use has become a pervasive behaviour among children and has been linked to adverse health outcomes. The objective of this study was to examine the association between screen time and a comprehensive total cardiometabolic risk (CMR) score in school-aged children (7–12-years), as well as individual CMR factors. In this longitudinal study, screen time was measured over time (average duration of follow-up was 17.4 months) via parent-report. Anthropometric measurements, blood pressure, and biospecimens were collected over time and used to calculate CMR score [sum of age and sex standardized z-scores of systolic blood pressure (SBP), glucose, log-triglycerides, waist circumference (WC), and negative high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c)/square-root of 5]. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to examine the association between screen time and total CMR score as well as individual CMR factors. A total of 567 children with repeated measures were included. There was no evidence of an association between parent-reported child screen time and total CMR score (adjusted β = −0.01, 95% CI [−0.03, 0.005], 0.16). Screen time was inversely associated HDL-c (adjusted β = −0.008, 95% CI [−0.011, −0.005], p = 0.016), but there was no evidence that the other CMR components were associated with screen time. Among children 7–12 years, there was no evidence of an association between parent-reported child screen time and total CMR, but increased screen time was associated with slightly lower HDL-c. Research is needed to understand screen-related contextual factors which may be related to CMR factors.
Senior Scientist and Director, Healthy Active Living and Obesity, CHEO Research Institute