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Community Preventive Services Task Force Recommends Behavioral Screen Time Interventions to Prevent Childhood Obesity

The Community Preventive Services Task Force announced that it recommends Obesity Prevention and Control:  Behavioral Interventions that Aim to Reduce Recreational Sedentary Screen Time Among Children.

Are interventions aimed at reducing the time children spend viewing TV and other screen media (e.g., computers and video games) effective at preventing or controlling childhood obesity? Yes, says the Community Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force), which released an evidence-based recommendation in favor of interventions to reduce recreational sedentary screen time.

What is the Task Force’s Recommendation?

The Community Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force) recommends behavioral interventions to reduce recreational sedentary screen time among children aged 13 years and younger. This finding is based on strong evidence of effectiveness in reducing recreational sedentary screen time, increasing physical activity, improving diet, and improving or maintaining weight-related outcomes.

The Task Force bases its recommendations on systematic reviews of scientific studies. Under Task Force direction, scientists and experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conduct the reviews in collaboration with a wide range of government, academic, policy, and practice-based partners.

Peer-reviewed articles of the systematic reviews are not yet published; however, a summary of the findings and supporting materials are available on The Community Guide website. You can also subscribe External Web Site Icon to be notified when materials are posted.

What are “behavioral interventions that aim to reduce recreational sedentary screen time”?

Behavioral interventions that reduce recreational (i.e., neither school-related nor work-related) sedentary screen time teach self-management skills to initiate or maintain behavior change.

Behavioral screen time interventions are classified into two types:

Screen-time-only and screen-time-plus interventions teach behavioral self-management skills through one or more of the following components:

Interventions may include one or more additional components: use of an electronic monitoring device to limit screen time; TV Turnoff Challenge; screen time contingent on physical activity; or small media.

Why are these Task Force recommendations important?

What are the Task Force and The Community Guide?