A new study suggests that only 1 out of every 20 teens in America is getting the physician recommended amount of sleep, exercise and screen time (time spent on devices).
The recommended amount of exercise for a teenager is 1 hour of moderate to vigorous exercise per day. Screen time should be limited to 2 hours per day. “Kids ages 6 to 12 old also need 9 to 12 hours of sleep, while teens need 8 to 10 hours nightly.”
The study concluded that too little sleep and exercise and too much screen time can lead to chronic health issues such as obesity, mental health problems, poor academic performance and unhealthy behavior such as smoking and drinking.
However, these recommendations have been increasingly difficult for children and teenagers to meet. Similar to adults, it can be hard to meet all three requirements at the same time, versus focusing on one.
For the study, 59,000 kids were surveyed over four years. “Overall, just 3 percent of girls and 7 percent of boys spent the optimal time sleeping and being physically active while limiting screen time.”
The three factors seem to support each other. More exercise led to better sleep and less screen time. However, less exercise led to more screen time and less sleep.
The study urges parents to encourage their children to engage in physical activity that can help with sleep patterns. Schools also impact sleep due to early start times.
“Sleep and physical activity are two pillars that should not be sacrificed in childhood,” said Jonathan Mitchell of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania.
Sleep is often sacrificed for other activities including spending time on cell phones, computers and watching TV. Teens and parents should be more cognizant of bedtime and focus on finding a balance between, sleep, exercise and screen time.
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