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Kids’ Sleep, Obesity and Electronic Devices

The rates of overweight and obesity among kids continue to climb. Food choices and inactivity are considered major culprits. Are electronic devices also to blame?

Scientists from the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta have linked use of electronic devices, poor sleep patterns and obesity among Canadian 5th graders. The researchers surveyed sleep habits, food intake, physical activity levels, height and weight measurements, and nighttime use of electronic devices among 3,398 children.

“Sixty-four percent of parents reported that their child had access to one or more electronic entertainment and communication devices (EECDs) in their bedroom,” the authors reported. “Access to and night-time use of EECDs were associated with shortened sleep duration, excess body weight, poorer diet quality, and lower physical activity levels in a statistically significant manner. Limiting the availability of EECDs in children’s bedrooms and discouraging their night-time use may be considered as a strategy to promote sleep and reduce childhood obesity.”

The study was published in Pediatric Obesity (2012; doi: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2012.00085.x).

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