Children Can Enjoy Same Health Benefits By Swapping Exercise For More Sleep

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Health News: Researchers from the University of South Australia found that kids can achieve equivalent physical and mental health benefits over the course of a day by either extra sleep or extra exercise.

Children engage in a wide range of activities like music classes, school sports, household chores and many more in a single day. Not every kid meets the international guidelines that is – 9-11 hours’ sleep, 60 minutes of physical exercise, and no more than two hours of recreational screen time per day.

Researchers investigated how much sedentary time, sleep, light exercise, and moderate-to-vigorous exercise can cause the same improvements in physical and mental health and academic achievement in children. They involved 1,179 children aged between 11 and 12 years. All of them had their BMI, waist and body fat measured and their mental health was recorded by self-reporting.

The research team found that moderate-to-vigorous physical exercise was 2-6 times more potent than sleep or sedentary time. But, children can achieve the same 7.4% reduction in body mass index by either sleeping an extra 52 minutes or sitting less by nearly an hour.

Researchers observed that children can also boost their mental well-being by either exercising 35 minutes more (moderate-to-vigorous exercise) or sleeping an extra 68 minutes or reducing their sedentary time by 54 minutes.

The study results confirm that physical activity is the quickest and most effective way to improve physical health and mental wellbeing in children.

“Exploring trade-offs between children’s activities is a promising way for families to make healthy choices that suit their regular family schedule,” said lead researcher Dr Dot Dumuid.

To Know More, You May Refer To

Ng, E., Wake, M., Olds, T., Lycett, K., Edwards, B., Le, H., & Dumuid, D. (2021). Equivalence curves for healthy lifestyle choices. Pediatrics, 147(4), e2020025395.

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