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Is there an association between children's screen use and cariogenic diet?


Data sources Databases searched included the International Database for Medical Research MEDLINE/Pubmed, ISI Web of Science, Scopus, Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO), and Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences (LILACS).

Study selection Studies of observational design that examined the association between any screen-time behaviour and dietary intake in preschool and school-aged children (younger than 12 years) were selected by two independent reviewers. If a consensus could not be reached, a third reviewer was consulted.

Data extraction and synthesis Data were extracted independently by two reviewers using a pre-tested data extraction form. Risk of bias was assessed using an adapted version of the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale for cross-sectional studies. A PRISMA flow chart was used to present the study selection results. The GRADE system was used to evaluate the strength of evidence. A qualitative synthesis was used to report the results. A meta-analysis was not conducted.

Results Nineteen studies were included in the review, all of which were of cross sectional design or conducted cross-sectional analysis. Fourteen studies were assessed as high quality, three as moderate quality and two as low quality. All studies found a significant positive association between television and/or total screen-time viewing and poor quality diet including lower intake of fruit and vegetables and higher intake of unhealthy foods. Screen-based sedentary behaviour was positively associated with cariogenic foods consumption in 15 studies. Based on the GRADE rating, there was moderate evidence of an association between TV viewing and intake of potentially cariogenic diet.

Conclusions Although there could be an association between TV viewing and poor quality cariogenic diet in preschool and school-aged children, the authors conclude that the strength of evidence is limited.


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Correspondence to Martha Paisi.

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Paisi, M., Witton, R. & Plessas, A. Is there an association between children's screen use and cariogenic diet?. Evid Based Dent 20, 115–116 (2019).

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