What is it about?

This systematic review looked at the association between sedentary lifestyle mainly screen time (ST) and the risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS); i.e. glucose intolerance, central obesity, hypertension, and dyslipidaemia, in adolescents. This is an important research given the COVID-19 implications on school closure, lockdown and social restrictions. Several research showed a remarkable increase of screen time and reduction of physical activity below the recommended international level during the pandemic, hence the cardio metabolic risk factors.

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Why is it important?

In brief, our review demonstrated that independent of PA, significant association between ST and MetS was noted among adolescents. This observation has significant public health and clinical implications that demand urgent prevention initiatives targeting young people and their parents. Such interventions aim to enhance early screening of behavioural and metabolic risk factors and increase awareness of potential adverse health impacts related to NCDs. Healthcare providers should consider a promotive, holistic approach, taking into consideration the international recommendation of ST and PA across different age groups.


This publication has been an important addition to the literature. Being as a mother, the conceptualization of this article came from a real world scenario. Noticing the disconnect that occurred during COVID19 for our children and the drastic surge of screen time either pleasure or online school classes, accompanied by reduced PA, increased stress and limited social interaction, all have raised a concern with regard their cardio metabolic risk and future noncommunicable diseases.

Sarah Musa
Primary Health Care Corp

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: COVID-19 and screen-based sedentary behaviour: Systematic review of digital screen time and metabolic syndrome in adolescents, PLoS ONE, March 2022, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0265560.
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