Parental factors associated with screen time in pre-school children in primary-care practice: a TARGet Kids! study

Public Health Nutr. 2011 Dec;14(12):2134-8. doi: 10.1017/S1368980011000516. Epub 2011 Apr 5.


Objective: To identify child and parental factors associated with screen time in 3-year-old children.

Design: Observational study.

Setting: Participants were recruited from a large primary-care paediatric group practice in Toronto, Canada.

Subjects: Healthy 3-year-old children were included. A questionnaire was completed by their parents on screen time. Descriptive statistics and linear regression models were used to assess associations between child screen time and selected factors. Multivariable models included factors from the univariate analysis with P < 0·1. Estimated effects and 95% CI are reported.

Results: A total of 157 children were enrolled (91% recruitment). The mean screen time per weekday was 104 min (similar for weekend day). In all, 10% of children had a television (TV) in their bedroom; 59% consumed at least one meal while watching TV; and 81% of parents had household rules about screen time. Controlling for maternal education and age, eating lunch and dinner in front of the screen and mother being employed were associated with an increase in child weekday screen time of 96 (95% CI 30, 192), 42 (95% CI 12, 90) and 36 (95% CI 6, 72) min/d, respectively. Eating lunch in front of the screen and an increase of 1 h of parental screen time were associated with an increase of 78 (95% CI 36, 132) and 12 (95% CI 6, 18) min/d in child weekend screen time. Family rules decreased child weekend screen time by 30 (95% CI 6, 54) min/d.

Conclusions: Interventions that include these important parental factors should be evaluated for their effectiveness in reducing screen time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child Behavior*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eating
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Parenting*
  • Parents*
  • Snacks
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Television*