TV, devices in kids bedrooms linked to poor sleep and obesity

Children who bask in the night-time glow of a TV or computer don’t get enough rest and suffer from poor lifestyle habits, new research from the University of Alberta has shown.

A province wide survey of Grade 5 students in Alberta showed that as little as one hour of additional sleep decreased the odds of being overweight or obese by 28 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively. Children with one or more electronic devices in the bedroom -TVs, 88 computers, video games and cellphones were also far more likely to be overweight or obese.

“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.

Researchers found 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 increased to 2.57 times for kids with three devices, with similar results reported among obese children.

More sleep also led to significantly more physical activity and better diet choices, researchers found.

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