Sedentary screen time is an early, modifiable risk factor for obesity and poor child development.
To examine the relationship between maternal and infant screen time with child growth and development.
Pregnant women were recruited for a cohort study related to maternal and infant development. Screen time was assessed in mothers during pregnancy, and subsequently in children at 3 months, 12 months, and 24 months of age. Child anthropometry was measured, and nuclear magnetic resonance quantified child fat mass. Fat mass index (FMI) was calculated. The Bayley Scales of Infant Development-III were used to assess child development. Linear regression models were used to assess the relationship between screen time and child growth and development, adjusted for covariates and stratified by sex.
Mother/child dyads (n = 89) were mainly white (92.1%), and half were boys (52%). Both sexes increased screen time between 12 months and 24 months (ps <0.05). Child screen time was positively associated with FMI and negatively associated with development scores. In adjusted models, screen time was positively associated with FMI in boys, and meeting the screen time guideline was associated with lower FMI in girls.
Greater infant screen time was related to higher adiposity. Though few relationships emerged, a cautionary approach to screen time early in life may benefit child health.

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