The amount of time teenagers spend in front of TV screens and monitors has been associated with physical complaints. A large study of more than 30,000 Nordic teenagers published in the open access journal BMC Public Health has shown that TV viewing, computer use and computer gaming (screen time) were consistently associated with back pain and recurrent headaches.
Torbjørn Torsheim, from the University of Bergen, Norway, worked with an international team of researchers to study the association between 'screen time' and head- or back-ache. He said, "A rising prevalence of physical complaints such as back pain, neck and shoulder pain, and headache has been reported for adolescent populations. Parallel to this, adolescents are spending an increasing amount of time on screen-based activities, such as TV, computer games, or other types of computer based entertainment".
The researchers found that there was little interaction between specific types of screen-based activity and particular physical complaints, with the exception of headache in girls, which seemed to be particularly associated with computer use and TV viewing but not gaming. Torsheim and his colleagues suggest this indicates that physical complaints are not related to the type of screen-based activity, but to the duration and ergonomic aspects of such activity. Speaking about the findings, Torsheim said, "The consistent but relatively weak magnitude of associations is in line with the interpretation that screen time is a contributing factor, but not a primary causal factor, in headache and backache in the general population of Nordic school-aged teenagers."
Notes to Editors
1. Screen-based activities and physical complaints among adolescents from the Nordic countries
Torbjørn Torsheim, Lilly Eriksson, Christina W Schnohr, Fredrik Hansen, Thoroddur Bjarnason and Raili Välimaa
BMC Public Health (in press)
During embargo, article available here: http://www.
After the embargo, article available at the journal website: http://www.
Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.
Article citation and URL available on request at email@example.com on the day of publication.
2. BMC Public Health is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in the epidemiology of disease and the understanding of all aspects of public health. The journal has a special focus on the social determinants of health, the environmental, behavioral, and occupational correlates of health and disease, and the impact of health policies, practices and interventions on the community. BMC Public Health (ISSN 1471-2458) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, CAS, EMBASE, Scopus, Current Contents, FSTA, CABI, Thomson Reuters (ISI) and Google Scholar.
3. BioMed Central (http://www.