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E-devices in bedrooms increase obesity risks


09:27, October 24, 2012

(File Photo)

Children with one or more electronic devices in the bedroom tend to sleep less, thus more likely to become overweight or obese, a Canadian study showed.

The study, conducted by the University of Alberta, showed that as few as one hour of additional sleep decreased the risk of being overweight or obese by 28 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

After asking 3,400 Grade 5 students in the Canadian province of Alberta, researchers found half of the students had a TV, DVD player or video game console in their bedrooms, and 21 percent had a computer and 17 percent had a cellphone.

Some 57 percent of the students reported using electronics after they were supposed to be asleep, with watching TV and movies the most popular activity, according to the study.

The study 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 bedrooms. The possibility increased to 2.57 times for kids with three devices, with similar results reported among obese children.

Co-author Christina Fung noted that children today are not sleeping as much as previous generations, with two-thirds not getting the recommended hours of sleep per night.

"It's important to teach these children at an earlier age and teach them healthy habits when they are younger," Fung said.

In addition to healthy lifestyle habits, a good night's sleep has been linked to better academic outcomes, fewer mood disorders and other positive health outcomes, she said.

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