A study by Chahal and colleagues from the University of Alberta School of Public Health, published in Pediatric Obesity, shows that both the availability and night-time use of electronic entertainment and communication devices (EECDs) are strongly associated with short sleep duration and obesity among Canadian children.
The researchers examined data from a representative sample of 3398 grade 5 children in Alberta and used a random effect models to assess the associations of night-time access to and use of EECDs with sleep, diet quality, physical activity, and body weights.
Two out of three kids had access to one or more EECDs in their bedroom, which in turn was associated with shortened sleep duration, excess body weight, poorer diet quality, and lower physical activity levels.
In light of these findings, the authors discuss whether…
“…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.”
Such efforts would be in line with the existing recommendations pertaining to TV and Internet access by the American Academy of Pediatrics and suggest to have these be expanded to restricted availability of video games and smart phones in children’s bedrooms.
If you thought taking away unhealthy foods from your kids was difficult – just try taking away their smart phones, TVs or computers.
I wonder if any of my readers have managed to actually do this and if this has had any positive effect on their kids health.
Chahal H, Fung C, Kuhle S, & Veugelers PJ (2012). Availability and night-time use of electronic entertainment and communication devices are associated with short sleep duration and obesity among Canadian children. Pediatric obesity PMID: 22962067