Almost All U.S. Teens Falling Short on Sleep, Exercise
Jim Liebelt Jim Liebelt's Blog
- 2019 Feb 11
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on HealthDay.
Too little sleep. Not enough exercise. Far too much "screen time."
That is the unhealthy lifestyle of nearly all U.S. high school students, new research finds.
The study, of almost 60,000 teenagers nationwide, found that only 5 percent were meeting experts' recommendations on three critical health habits: sleep; exercise; and time spent gazing at digital media and television.
It's no secret that many teenagers are attached to their cellphones, or stay up late, or spend a lot of time being sedentary. But even researchers were struck by how extensive those issues are among high school students.
"Five percent is a really low proportion," said study leader Gregory Knell, a research fellow at University of Texas School of Public Health, in Dallas. "We were a bit surprised by that."
In general, medical experts say teenagers should get eight to 10 hours of sleep at night, and at least one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise every day. They should also limit their screen time -- TV and digital media -- to less than two hours per day.
The new findings show how few kids manage to meet all three recommendations, Knell said.
It's easy to see how sleep, exercise and screen time are intertwined, he pointed out.
"Here's one example: If kids are viewing a screen at night -- staring at that blue light -- that may affect their ability to sleep," Knell said.
"And if you're not getting enough sleep at night, you're going to be more tired during the day," he added, "and you're not going to be as physically active."
While no group of kids in the study was doing well, some were faring worse than others: Only 3 percent of girls met all three recommendations, versus 7 percent of boys.
Similarly, the rate was 2 percent to 4 percent among black, Hispanic and Asian American students, versus just over 6 percent of white kids, the findings showed.
The report was published online in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.