Kids who have electronics in their rooms are more likely to be overweight or obese than those who don’t. And those who have more than one of these items have even a greater chance of putting on the pounds
Yet another study on the subject, released in May, 2014, reinforces the link between childhood obesity and lack of sufficient sleep. Kids who consistently don’t get the recommended amount have higher weights and percentages of body fat..There are a number of reasons for this, but a culprit or culprits may be right in their bedrooms.
In a 2012 study of 3400 fifth-grade children in Alberta, kids were asked what technology they had in their rooms. Half had a television, a DVD player, or a video game player, while 21% had a computer, 17% had a cellphone, and 5% had at least three of these items.
Fifty-seven percent said they used their electronics when they were supposed to be asleep. They watched television or movies. Twenty-seven percent used at least three devices after bedtime.
The results were clear: children with one or more electronic items in their rooms were far more likely to be overweight or obese. A child with one device was 1.47 times more likely to be overweight or obese than a child with no devices, and 2.57 times as likely if the child had three. Children who got one hour of extra sleep were 30% less likely to be obese and 28% less likely to be overweight.
More sleep can make a big difference in a child’s daily life. It is associated with more exercise and better food choices. It also raises the chances of better grades in school and lowers the risk of mood disorders.
Two thirds of children do not get the recommended amount of sleep for their age. We also now have technology as part of our lives more than ever. The chances are great that an overweight or obese child will become an adult with a constant weight problem.
“If you want your kids to sleep better and live a healthier lifestyle, get the technology out of the bedroom,” says Paul Veugelers, author of the study and professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. Adds co-author Christine Fung, “It’s important to teach these children at an earlier age and teach them healthy habits when they are young.”