Too much screen time is placing Queensland kids at a high risk of obesity and chronic disease, with one in three children sitting at screens for more than the recommended maximum two hours per day.
The new stats, to be officially released in the upcoming Chief Health Officer’s 2016 Report, also found more than half of Queensland children aged five to 17 aren’t active every day.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said young people were particularly vulnerable to the adverse health effects of sedentary behaviour, in the short and long term.
“The stats show 38 per cent of Queensland kids – more than 300,000 are spending more than two hours on screens for entertainment every day,” Ms Clift said.
“Older children spend more time on screens and only one in five meet the recommended physical activity guidelines by the time they reach age 16 or 17.
“It’s important that all Queensland children meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity to maintain health and happiness.
“Encouraging our kids to live less sedentary lives is also about establishing lifelong habits that promote overall wellbeing.
“Children aged five to 12 should be encouraged to avoid sedentary behaviour and limit screen time to under two hours daily – engaging in exercise for at least 60 minutes every day.
“Queensland cannot afford to ignore a looming health crisis created by the obesity epidemic – as a community we must find ways to be more active and improve our overall health.”
One in four Queensland children and one in two Queensland adults are currently overweight or obese.
Cancer Council has urged Queenslanders to enjoy screen-free time every day.
“Families can make small changes to cut down on daily screen time – try turning off electronic devices during meal times or cut back to 30 minutes of television a day,” Ms Clift said.
“Encourage the kids to get outdoors and spend time being active – whether it’s enrolling in a team sport, spending time at the pool or kicking a ball around in the backyard.
“Sedentary lifestyles can contribute to overweight and obesity later in life – try to spend less time sitting and more time up and about every day.”
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or Cancer Council’s 13 11 20.
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Media and Spokesperson,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5372
Mobile: 0409 001 171