Preschoolers should have limited screen time and more physical activity in early childhood education centres, says a new study.

The University of Auckland survey finds children are watching TV and DVDs at least once a week in 13 per cent of centres - and computers or tablets are used once a week in a third.

But those in the industry say guidelines aren't necessary and teachers can judge what is appropriate use.

PhD student Sarah Gerritsen didn't specify what the optimum screen time should be but international guidelines favour a daily maximum of one hour.

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