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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Experts say excessive screen time can impact a child’s fitness and health.

According to a 2017 survey by the National Health and Nutrition Examination 13.9 percent of preschool children are obese. While, 18.4 percent of grade school children across the country are obese.

Iowa Clinic Pediatrics Doctor Dan Pelzer said there is a link to obese children and too much screen time.

“Obesity is one of the things that is tied to increased screen use and health conditions that are associated with that. Like, blood sugar control, high blood pressures. In addition, those abilities to have coping skills and to solve one’s own problems without the use of an immediate screen,” Pelzer said.

Pelzer said children ages zero to two should not use screens. If there is interaction with a screen, make sure there is a lesson and interaction surrounding the event.

Children ages two to five should have no more than two hours of screen time a day. During that screen time it is recommended parents be present and there is some type of lesson and interaction involved.

Pelzer said this does not include time spent on a screen at school.

“We encourage parents to be good role models for their children by putting down their screens, so that children see the appropriate behavior for their growth and development,” Pelzer said.

Pelzer said ways to control screen time can be making rules like no screens at the dinner table, only one screen allowed in a room at a time and designating time spent playing.

“Part of the exploration and imagination of a childhood is making up your own games. It’s getting lost in a book rather than having your feelings and emotions dictation a little bit by a screen,” Pelzer said.

Pelzer recommends no screen time one hour before bedtime and to keep electronics out of the bedroom.