Researchers at the University of Alberta, Canada have discovered that children with exposure to TV and computers in their bedrooms suffer from lack of rest and poor lifestyle habits such as obesity and sleep disorders. The research findings were published in the latest issue of the journal Pediatric Obesity.
Study on 5th Graders
The study was conducted by scientists by Dr. Paul Veugelers, professor of public health studies. He is also the director of the Alberta project promoting active living and healthy eating (APPLE).
According to him the relationship between diet, sleep and activity is very vital to the well being of kids. For the research, a survey of students belonging to grade 5 in the province of Alberta was considered.
For the study more than 3400 students studying grade 5 of the APPLE schools project were considered and evaluated for sleeping habits, access to electronic gadgets and physical activity.
Of the children surveyed, more than half of them had at least one of the electronic gadgets like a TV, DVD player or gaming console in their bedroom. About 17% had a cell phone and 21% had a computer. Around 5% of them had all of the above gadgets in their bedroom.
The following were the inferences of the study:
- According to the study, 1 hour of additional sleep was found to reduce the risk of obesity among school children by 30%.
- It was found that children who have access to one or more electronic gadgets in their bedrooms such as TVs, gaming consoles, computers and cell phones were more likely to suffer from obesity.
- More than 57% of the students were found to be watching movies or TV shows way beyond their bedtime. Such kids were found to be 1.47 times more at risk of becoming obese as against those who did not have a TV in their bedroom.
- 27% of them engaged in more than 3 activities after bedtime. Such children were found to be 2.57 times at risk of becoming obese.
- Children who slept better were more at ease with diet choices and physical activities than their sleepless counterparts. They also fared better in academics, suffered fewer mood swings and had positive health outcomes.
In a nutshell the advice to parents would be to get technology out of your kid’s bedroom and encourage them to indulge in more physical activity. It is easier to inculcate healthy habits at a younger age than later in life. When developed at a younger age it becomes a good habit that stays for life.