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Sedentary Behaviors

Narrative

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents limit children's media time to 1-2 hours per day.1 This includes time spent watching TV or videos as well as time spent playing video games. In 2011, 32.4 percent of high school students reported watching 3 or more hours of television per day on an average school day. There was no significant difference in the proportion of males and females who reported this behavior. However, younger students, those in 9th grade, were slightly more likely to watch 3 or more hours of television (33.9 percent) than the oldest students, those in 12th grade (30.4 percent; data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

The proportion of students who reported 3 or more hours of television watching varied significantly by race/ethnicity. Over half (54.6 percent) of non-Hispanic Black students reported this behavior, while the same was true for about one-quarter of non-Hispanic White and Asian students (25.6 percent and 26.1 percent, respectively), and slightly more than one-third of Hispanic (37.8 percent) and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native (36.0 percent) students.

In the same year, nearly one-third (31.1 percent) of high school students reported using computers for something other than school work, such as video or computer games, for 3 or more hours per day on an average school day. The proportion varied by sex and grade level. Overall, males were more likely to report non-school related computer usage of 3 or more hours than females (35.3 percent versus 26.6 percent) as were 9th grade students (32.5 percent) compared to those in 12th grade (28.8 percent). Across all grade levels, a greater proportion of males reported 3 or more hours of daily non-school related computer use during weekdays. Daily computer use also varied by race/ethnicity, with non-Hispanic Asians and Blacks more likely to report this level of computer use than non-Hispanic White or Hispanic students (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

1 Committee on Public Education. Children, Adolescents, and Television. Pediatrics. 2001;107(2):423-426

Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

media use among children by age graph

This image is described in the Data section.

media use among childre by age and sex graph

Data

High School Students Who Watched 3 or More Hours of Television per Day,* by Race/Ethnicity, 2011

Percent of students:

  • Total: 32.4
  • Non-Hispanic White: 25.6
  • Non-Hispanic Black: 54.6
  • Hispanic: 37.8
  • Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native: 36.0
  • Non-Hispanic Asian: 26.1
  • Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 30.3
  • Non-Hispanic Multiple Race: 33.5

*On an average school day.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Youth Online: High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey . Accessed: June 20, 2012.

High School Students Who Used Computers for 3 or More Hours per Day for Something Other than School Work,* by Sex and Grade, 2011
Grade Percent of High School Students
Total Male Female
*On an average school day.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Online: High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Accessed: 08/07/12.
Total 31.1 35.3 26.6
9th Grade 32.5 35.5 29.5
10th Grade 31.6 36.1 26.7
11th Grade 30.7 36.7 24.6
12th Grade 28.8 32.4 25.0