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PLoS One. 2022 Mar 8;17(3):e0264951. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0264951. eCollection 2022.


OBJECTIVE: This study attempted to address the limited knowledge regarding the impact of screen time (ST) on the lifestyle behaviors of Indian adolescents during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The objectives were 1) to assess the frequency and duration of screen use and to screen for addictive behaviors among 10-15 year old adolescents in Mumbai during the COVID-19 pandemic and 2) to examine the association of ST with lifestyle-related behaviors – eating habits, snacking habits, physical activity (PA) levels, sleep quality, and symptoms of depression.

METHODS: An online survey was conducted between January and March 2021. Eating habits, snacking habits, time spent in different screen-based activities, and screen-addictive behaviors were reported. PA levels, sleep quality and symptoms of depression were assessed using the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Children/Adolescents (PAQ C/A), the Sleep Quality Index of Pittsburg (PSQI) and Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2) respectively. Multiple linear regression analyzes were performed to determine the impact of ST on lifestyle behaviors.

RESULTS: Adolescents (n=1298, Mage 13.2 (1.1), 53.3% male) reported a mean weekday and weekend ST of 442.3 (201.5) minutes/ d and 379.9 (178.2) minutes/d respectively. Overall, 33.4% spent >6 hrs/d studying or doing homework, 65.4% used social networking sites for at least 2-3 hrs/d, and 70.7% agreed that ST took up the majority of their free time. Only 12% practiced moderate to vigorous PA (PAQ scores C/A 5 indicating poor sleep quality and 8.6% scored ≥ 3 on the PHQ-2 to suggest risk for depression. Higher ST was associated with lower PA and increased sleep problems and greater screen addiction was inversely associated with eating habits, PA and sleep-related variables.

CONCLUSION: The study draws attention to a high prevalence of ST excess and its impact on eating habits, PA levels and sleep quality among Indian adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Targeted health promotion interventions that encourage the judicious use of screens for education and entertainment and emphasize the adverse health effects of excessive ST are needed.

PMID:35259203 | DO I:10.1371/log.pone.0264951