Adolescent screen time, in four charts

To no one's surprise, adolescents spend a lot of time in front of television and computer screens. How much? A new report released Wednesday by the National Center on Health Statistics reveals quite a wide range. About 7 percent of youngsters aged 12 to 15 said they were in front of a TV for five or more hours each day outside of school, and about 5 percent said they spent the same amount of time on a computer. Spending more than two hours in front of a screen daily has been linked to high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and obesity, according to the report.

The data are for 2012 and come from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the NHANES National Youth Fitness Survey.


Less than three in 1o were able to stay under the recommended limit of two hours per day of screen time. Girls were more likely than boys to stay off computers.


Whites and Hispanics were better able than blacks to stay under the recommended two-hour limit.


And overweight or obese adolescents were less able to meet the two-hour television watching limit. Computer time, however, was relatively similar.


Lenny Bernstein writes the To Your Health blog. He started as an editor on the Post’s National Desk in 2000 and has worked in Metro and Sports.
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Lenny Bernstein · July 8