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The major cause of overweight and obese adolescents is the increase in screen-time. Do you agree? Consider both sides and argue a position. Essay Example

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Obesity, Screen-Based Leisure Time Sedentary Behaviour and Physical Activity


The relationship between obesity or extreme fleshiness/accumulated body fat, and TV viewing, web-browsing, computer games and such screen-based leisure time sedentary behaviour (LTSB) leading to a marked reduction in the physical activity of adolescent children is the focus of this essay. The Department of Health and Ageing, Government of Australia, has stated that, “about one in every five children is now overweight or obese in Australia.” (2007: 1). Scientific research concerning screen-based leisure time sedentary behaviour (LTSB) has been conducted to study the connection between inactivity and obesity. This brief essay shall argue that, there is a definite correlation between lesser physical activity, higher screen-based LTSB and increase in the incidence of pre-adolescent and adolescent obesity, citing examples from research studies, to prove the same.

Screen-Based LTSB and Physical Activity

A survey conducted in the USA, approved by Pennington Biomedical Research Center and NSCH institutional Ethics Review Boards, (Sisson, Broyles, Baker, and Katzmarzyk, 2003) has studied girls and boys between the ages aged 6–17 years and their general habits like watching

TV/video/video game (screen-based LTSB), and also the frequency of vigorous physical activities spanning for a minimum period of twenty minutes each. The results have underlined the risk of “increased chronic diseases” that are associated with “high volumes of screen-based LTSB” (p.310). Heredity and eating habits, gender and age are other predominant factors that determine overweight and obesity. However, since “Higher levels of daily screen-based LTSB were associated with lower levels of everyday PA for both genders” (p.310), “the combined influence of low levels of PA and high levels of screen-based LTSB on elevated body mass are clear” (Sisson et al, 2003: 310) states the research.

Another research (AN Al-Isa, 2004: pp. 1273–1277) is also relevant to this discussion. It has not directly studied the correlation of screen-based LTSB and obesity risk, but is similar to the earlier research in that the age group is adolescent. It is pertinent that, in the discussion of the results of this survey, it is mentioned “In Kuwait, obesity among this age group is high, which suggests that Kuwaiti adolescents are on the whole physically inactive” (AN Al-Isa, 2004: p. 1276). Moreover, it states “The popular leisure time activities of Kuwaiti children and young adolescents are electronic games, which involves only moving one’s fingers and looking at a screen…” (AN Al-Isa, 2004: pp. 1276-7) clearly establishing the link between physical inactivity and screen-based LTSB and the risk of diseases, as a dominant factor.

The Sydney Morning Herald cites an Australian Council for Education Research (2011) study goes further to suggest that physical activity (PA) like walking to school etc in children facilitates the observation and development of a broader view of their own community.


Agencies of the Australian Government are aware that the numbers of obese children in the country are increasing. Research studies (Sisson et al, 2003; AN Al-Isa, 2004) have clearly pointed to the increased risk of prevalence of chronic diseases in pre-adolescent and adolescent years due to screen-based LTSB as a major factor. Reduced physical activity has also been shown to restrict children’s understanding of their community, in an Australian research study.

This conclusively proves the need to reduce screen-based LTSB in youngsters.


AN Al-Isa (2004) “ORIGINAL COMMUNICATION — Body mass index, overweight and obesity among Kuwaiti intermediate school adolescents aged 10–14 years” in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004) 58; pp. 1273–1277.

Australian Government- Department of Health and Ageing (2007) “Australia’s Physical Activity recommendations for children and young people” in Physical activity, retrieved online webpage on March 30, 2011. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/health-pubhlth-strateg-active-recommend.htm

Sisson, B. Susan., Broyles, T. Stephanie., Baker, L. Birgitta., and Katzmarzyk, T. Peter. (2003).

“Screen Time, Physical Activity, and Overweight in U.S. Youth: National Survey of Children’s Health — Adolescent health brief” in Journal of Adolescent Health, Volume 47, Issue 3, September 2010. Pp. 309-311.

Sydney Morning Herald (Monday Mar 21, 2011) “Letting kids ride to school

doesn’t make you a bad parent” by Scott Whiffin (March 14, 2011) in “National Ride2School Day | Childhood obesity On The Rise” page; webpage also available online