Patterns of Screen Time Among Rural Mexican-American Children on the New Mexico-Mexico Border.
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INTRODUCTION: The prevalence of obesity is 26% among Hispanic children and teenagers and 47% among Hispanic adults. One contributor to obesity is sedentary behavior, such as using electronic screen devices (ie, screens). Low-income and Hispanic youths spend more time using such devices than other youths. METHODS: We interviewed 202 parents of Mexican-origin children aged 6 to 10 years in 2 rural communities near the US-Mexico border to determine screen use among children. We tested for associations between covariates and heavy screen use (4 hours/day) and calculated adjusted odds ratios (AORs) to identify independent, modifiable risk factors for such use. RESULTS: More than two-thirds (68.3%) of households had an annual income of less than $24,000, 89.1% spoke primarily Spanish, and 92.1% had internet access. The percentage of children with heavy screen use was 14.9% on weekdays and 25.2% on weekends. Smartphones were used by 62.4% of children, desktops or laptops by 60.9%; homework was the most common reason for use of these devices. One in 3 children used them for social media. Increased odds of heavy screen use were associated with having a television on while the child ate (weekday AOR = 3.02; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08-8.45 and weekend AOR = 2.38; 95% CI, 1.04-5.40) and using electronics to entertain (weekend AOR = 2.94; 95% CI, 1.15-7.51). More than 3 family meals per week (AOR = 0.40; 95% CI, 0.17-0.94 compared with 3 meals) and 2 or 3 family activities per week (AOR = 0.33; 95% CI, 0.12-0.87 compared with 1 activity) were associated with decreased odds of heavy weekend use. CONCLUSION: Even in low-income, Spanish-speaking communities, children have access to electronic devices, social media, and the internet, and a substantial fraction of them are heavy users. Efforts to reduce screen time might focus on understanding and changing the social norms that promote it.
author list (cited authors)
McDonald, J. A., Sroka, C., Olivares, E., Marin, M., Gurrola, M., & Sharkey, J. R.
complete list of authors
McDonald, Jill A||Sroka, Christopher||Olivares, Elizabeth||Marin, Merranda||Gurrola, Maria||Sharkey, Joseph R