Survey Says: Children With Unfettered Access to Electronics More Likely to Be Overweight

Researchers in Canada say that children and teens who have electronic devices in their bedrooms are far more likely to be overweight because they are not getting enough sleep every night. The research is based on a survey of almost 3,400 fifth grade students in the province of Alberta, Canada. Researchers were trying to find out if there was a relationship between a child’s sleeping habits, the number of electronic devices in their bedroom, and their weight. The survey results revealed that as little as one hour of additional sleep every night decreased the odds of being overweight by 28 percent or obese by 30 percent.

The fifth graders were asked about their night time sleeping habits and the level of access they had to electronic devices via a "REAL Kids Alberta survey." Half of the students said that they had a TV, DVD player or video game system in their bedrooms, while 21 percent said they had unfettered access to a computer and 17 percent had a cellphone. Five percent of the students said they had all three types of devices. Around 57 percent of students admitted that they were using electronic devices when they were supposed to be in bed sleeping. The most popular activity was watching TV or movies. Around 37 percent of students said they regularly engaged in three or more activities after bedtime.

Researchers came to the conclusion – based on the survey response – that students with access to one electronic device were 1.47 times as likely to be overweight as kids with no devices in the bedroom. That number increased to 2.57 times for kids with three devices.

“If you want your kids to sleep better and live a healthier lifestyle, get the technology out of the bedroom,” said co-author Paul Veugelers, a professor in the School of Public Health, Canada Research Chair in Population Health and Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions Health Scholar.

Co-author Christina Fung pointed out that children just aren't sleeping as much as previous generations of youngsters did. Two-thirds of children, she says, don't get the recommended amount of sleep for their age group.

The research was published in September by the journal Pediatric Obesity, in an early online release.

Source: Zee News

"Teenager dozing off while writing his test" © 2012 stockyimages / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.


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