Excessive screen time can affect reasoning skills in young children


Young children who spend more time using computer and other such devices are likely to have poor reasoning skills, that is crucial for learning, academic performance, and everyday problem-solving, according to a study.

The study from University of Eastern Finland found improved overall diet quality and reduced consumption of red meat, as well as increased time spent in reading and organised sports enhanced reasoning skills among children over the first two school years.

On the other hand, excessive time spent on a computer and unsupervised leisure-time physical activity were associated with poorer reasoning skills.

Screen time, active school transportation, recess physical activity, and physical activity intensity were also not associated with reasoning skills.

“Children with healthier eating habits showed greater cognitive development than other children. Specifically, better overall diet quality, lower red meat consumption, and higher low-fat dairy product intake were linked to better reasoning skills,” said doctoral researcher Sehrish Naveed from the university.

Published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, the study examined the effects of a two-year diet and physical activity intervention on cognition among 397 Finnish elementary school children.

The associations of dietary factors, physical activity, and sedentary behaviour with cognition over two years were also studied.

The analyses considered parental education and income as well as children’s body fat percentage and maturity level.

“In the lives of growing children, diet and physical activity intervention is just one factor influencing lifestyle and reasoning skills. Based on our study, investing in a healthy diet and encouraging children to read are beneficial for the development of reasoning skills among children. Additionally, engaging in organised sports appears to support reasoning skills,” said Eero Haapala from the university.