As is usually the case with UK paper The Daily Mail, they have taken a new study from the University of Pittsburgh about the relationship between sleep and insulin production and turned it into a commentary on how games are bad. In their headline they proclaim "Staying up all night playing video games 'puts teenagers at greater risk of diabetes.'" The horror.
The only problem is that the study doesn't even mention video games. The study conducted by lead author Karen Matthews, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry, came to the conclusion that teens generally don't get enough sleep and that the deficit of sleep may be related to insulin resistance – which in turn increase the risk of diabetes.
"High levels of insulin resistance can lead to the development of diabetes," said lead author Karen Matthews, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry. "We found that if teens that normally get six hours of sleep per night get one extra hour of sleep, they would improve insulin resistance by 9 percent."
The study tracked the sleeping habits and insulin resistance levels of 245 healthy high school students. Participants provided a fasting blood draw, were required to fill out a sleep log, and wore a wrist actigraph (a wearable wristwatch-like device to measure rest and activity patterns) for one week during the school year.
Sleep duration based on actigraphy data averaged 6.4 hours over the week for teens, with school days significantly lower than weekends. Results also showed that higher insulin resistance was associated with shorter sleep duration across race, age, gender, and body mass index.
Researchers concluded that interventions to promote metabolic health in teens should include efforts to extend the amount of nightly sleep they get. Experts suggest that most teens need at least nine hours of sleep each night.
The study appears in the October issue of the journal SLEEP. Once again, The Daily Mail shows that it is great at creating tabloid-style headlines to whip worried parents into a frenzy about video games. No doubt video games, television, computer screen-time and other activities contribute to teens' lack of sleep, but to pin it all on one thing is disingenuous at best.