Research Critique: Preschool Screen Time and Obesity

Posted on: 29th May 2023


Quantitative Appraisal

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Research Critique: Preschool Screen Time and Obesity

The research article on “screen time parenting practices and association with preschool children’s TV viewing and weight-related outcomes” aims to examine and explain the relationship between parenting practices in relation to screen time in relation to children of age two to five watching television and their weight. The paper’s main focus was to show how children’s time watching television affects their weight, like in obese and overweight children (Neshteruk et al., 2021). Furthermore, the article explains how obesity develops in preschool children due to poor parenting concerning the time their children spend watching television. Therefore, the topic of preschool screen time and obesity is necessary for my topic as it explains which children are at risk of obesity as far as screen time is involved (Neshteruk et al., 2021).

The article answers the hypothesis that Screen time parenting practices like setting limits on time spent on watching would be linked to reduced time spent on television viewing and weight status in children. In contrast, promoting screen time can also increase TV viewing time and weight. Screen time is a contributing factor to obesity in preschool children. Specifically, children who exceed recommended television time have an increased risk of obesity compared to those that spend the recommended time television watching in their childhood. The study provided a framework for how parenting practices involving monitoring and limiting screen time affect the time spent viewing television and how this continues to impact the child’s weight status and poses a risk to obesity development.

The research article uses a randomized control trial, and sampling is done through mailings, community advertisements, and intervention at child centers. The study employed weekly television watching time in children and childhood obesity as variables. Parents were asked to measure their children’s screen time weekly, and the child’s weight and height were measured to test for children’s BMI and Z scores as they are the variables responsible for assessing a child’s development and nutrition. Despite the child’s weight and BMI status being affected by other factors like parents’ age, race, marital status, education level, employment status, and BMI status, screen time plays a vital role in the BMI status of the child. Therefore, the variables of screen time, BMI status of the child, and parenting are the most relevant in answering whether screen time in preschool children has a role in their weight status and obesity.

The article collected data through questionnaire answering, families attending specific study locations to measure their weights and BMI, and measuring Childs’s TV screen time. The measurements done in children include the weight, height, waist circumference, and parents’ weight and height for BMI. The data collected were measured, analyzed, and results obtained. The results obtained from the study based on the article included the parent’s demographics, age, race, marital status, BMI, employment, family income, and education level (Neshteruk et al., 2021). Results prove a relation between TV screen time, parenting practices, and the child’s weight status. Limitation parenting monitoring of the child indicated additional watching hours for the child, leading to increased BMI in children.

The article discusses the results and provides an interpretation of the study. The inversely proportional relationship between parenting monitoring time of television screen time to children’s BMI proves that children who spend more than the recommended time on the screen have an increased risk of developing obesity. Based on the article, TV screen viewing time is significantly reduced by increased parenting monitoring, and so is BMI and the child’s Z-score affected (Neshteruk et al., 2021). Therefore, parents should understand that controlling their children’s behavior and screen time can impact their weight status. the study highlights the need to control television viewing time for preschool children to lower their risk of developing obesity as obesity is associated with several non-communicable diseases, including hypertension and diabetes. The study’s main strength was the ability to use different measurement points (Neshteruk et al., 2021). the limitations included the study was randomized, so not efficient for obesity prevention, among other shortcomings. Nevertheless, based on the article, there is a  higher chance of developing obesity in preschool children who spend excess time on television watching, and parenting monitoring can play a role in lowering the risk. 


Neshteruk, C. D., Tripicchio, G. L., Lobaugh, S., Vaughn, A. E., Luecking, C. T., Mazzucca, S., & Ward, D. S. (2021). Screen Time Parenting Practices and Associations with Preschool Children’s TV Viewing and Weight-Related Outcomes. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(14), 7359.

Quantitative Appraisal


Please summarize critical elements of quantitative studies by providing relevant information in the template. Some studies may not include all of the elements in the template. Use short answers. Try to Avoid quotations from the article. If you aren't sure how to put it in your own words, consult with the instructor.

APA Citation


Population (type[s] of patients or participants)

The population studied included preschool children between two and five years at risk of obesity with excessive screen time.


Intervention (therapy, treatment) or other Issues (e.g., exposure, etiology, risk, or prognostic factor)

The study focus on finding a solution to obesity in children. Based on the study, the intervention to reduce the risk of obesity caused by excessive screen time in preschool children through parenting practices, based on the study, the solution to avoiding excessive screen time is increasing parent monitoring and control over screen time for their children. Several factors like parent's age, marital status, race, gender, educational level, family income, and employment status affect the parenting practices that are effective for monitoring screen time for children.


Comparison (i.e., is there a control or comparison group [treatment, exposure, etc.]?

If none, check the box)

Compared to children who spend recommended screen time watching TV, there is an increased risk for those that spend excessive time on television. Additionally, better screen time parenting practices are more effective in monitoring and controlling screen time for their children compared to those that do not apply the parenting practices for their children.

None    ☐


Outcome variable(s) or “endpoints”.

The key variables were parenting practices on monitoring, screen time children spend watching television, and child's weight status and BMI.

Primary: increased screen time limit monitoring and control is inversely proportional to screen time children spend watching television.

Secondary: better parenting screen time monitoring is inversely proportional to the children/'s weight status and BMI.

If outcome variables are not designated as primary vs. secondary, please identify critical variables (i.e., those most directly relevant to the study hypotheses or research questions):


The time frame for assessing outcomes

Parental monitoring of the child's screen time was done weekly, and the weight measurements were taken after a week. The whole study took 35 weeks and 59 weeks of follow-up.



Study Purpose

The study aimed to explain the relationship between preschool children's risk of developing obesity and imbalances in eight statuses to screen parenting practices on time spent by their children watching TV.

Description of the Setting(s)

The study was done in a setting where data was collected from parents and their kids, a survey was done, parents had to report on children's weekly TV watching time, and anthropometrics for children was done weekly.

Research Design

The research used a randomized trial for the parent-focused childhood obesity prevention study.

Framework / Model / Theory (if identified by authors; if there is no specific framework, you can check none identified)

The research developed marginal effect models to determine how parenting practices on screen time monitoring influence TV viewing and how this later impacted children's weight measurements. The framework provides a cascade of how parenting practices involving monitoring and limiting screen time affect the time spent viewing television and how this continues to impact the child's weight status and poses a risk to obesity development.

 None identified ☐

Hypothesis/hypotheses (if stated or implicit) or research question(s) if no hypotheses.

Screen time parenting practices like setting limits on time spent on watching would be linked to reduced television viewing and weight status in children, while practices promoting screen time can increase TV viewing time and weight. 

Sampling / Assignment

Sample inclusion/exclusion criteria

Inclusion: a family with a preschool child between two and five years, a parent with an overweight or obese child, and an ability to read and speak in English. 

Exclusion: family with no child aged between 2 and 5 years.

Sampling Method

Sample Size

Was there more than one group?   No ☐    Yes  ☒ 

Was there a power analysis/sample size estimate? No ☒   Yes  ☐

If there is more than one group, how were participants assigned?

☒Random Assignment   

  ☐ Other methods of assignment (existing groups, by location, etc.)

 How many participants are in each group if there is more than one group? 

How and when (at what time points) were study outcomes assessed?

The parents had to monitor their children's screen time weekly, and the anthropometrics were done weekly. The parents were to report the total hours children spent watching television, then the child's weight and height measurements were taken to determine the BMI and Z-score. The measures were taken twice to ensure accuracy.

Were reliability and validity reported if questionnaires were used to measure study outcome(s)?

Reliability and validity of outcome measure(s) / instruments


 Not reported   ☒


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