In the latest National Secondary Students’ Diet and Activity Survey, the Cancer Council and the National Heart Foundation research shows Australian teenagers are spending too much time in front of screens, including TV and online platforms, as well as video games.

According to the updated National Secondary Students’ Diet and Activity Survey, in 2012/13, 77 per cent of Australian teenagers spent more than two hours using electronic devices for entertainment on school days, compared with 71 per cent in 2010. Over the weekend, this screen time grew to between 83 and 89 per cent.

Linked to excessive screen time, the new report cited one quarter of Australian adolescents are overweight or obese, while 85 per cent of students do not engage in sufficient activity to provide a genuine health benefit.

In a statement reported by Lifehacker, Heart Foundation Australia CEO, Mary Barry said, “Overweight and obesity among young people is a significant public health issue in Australia, with overweight adolescents being at increased risk of becoming overweight adults and experiencing chronic diseases such as heart disease”.

In their report, the Heart Foundation and Cancer Council suggest parents, schools and policy makers need to work together to ensure electronic devices and excessive screen time do not harm the long-term health of young Australians.