CAKE (Computers and Kids' Ergonomics): The musculoskeletal impact of computer and electronic game use on children and adolescents
Robin Mary Gillespie, New York University, United States
New York University . Awarded
Computer and electronic game use were proposed as contributors to neck or upper extremity (NUE) symptoms of pain or discomfort occurring in adolescents. A cross-sectional survey distributed in general education classrooms in a northeastern US city produced 476 analyzable surveys, representing 75% of solicited subjects and 10% of the entire school population age 12-18. Subjects reported frequency, average daily duration and typical longest period of computers at school, computers at home, TV-based games, and hand-held games, as well as symptoms occurring in the past month and symptoms frequency and intensity ratings.
In unconditional logistic regression analyses adjusted for gender, age and race, frequent home computer users (daily or almost daily) were at increased odds of reporting NUE symptoms compared to less frequent users (OR=1.7, p=0.008). Those who used the computer at home for longer without a break also had higher odds of NUE symptoms, but those reporting higher average daily use time did not. School computer use and electronic game use were not associated with increased NUE symptoms.
The effect of daily home computer use on NUE symptoms was seen primarily in high school students. However, age itself did not predict NUE symptoms.
Age, race and gender did not affect the relationship between computer use and symptoms. However, girls were more likely to report NUE symptoms than boys (OR=1.9, p=0.005). Being overweight and wearing glasses or contact lenses were also associated with symptoms. As computer use patterns and weight are modifiable characteristics, they suggest targets for reducing the negative effect of computer use in this population. Additional research and interventions involving the roles of physical activity, equipment design, psychosocial demands and physical development are recommended.
Gillespie, R.M. CAKE (Computers and Kids' Ergonomics): The musculoskeletal impact of computer and electronic game use on children and adolescents. Ph.D. thesis, New York University.
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