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Study: Only 5% of US children ages 8–11 follow screen time, sleep and exercise guidelines recommended for brain development


Lim­it­ing chil­dren’s screen time linked to bet­ter cog­ni­tion, study says (CNN):

Lim­it­ing kids’ recre­ation­al screen time to less than two hours a day, along with suf­fi­cient sleep and phys­i­cal activ­i­ty, is asso­ci­at­ed with improved cog­ni­tion, accord­ing to a study pub­lished in The Lancet Child & Ado­les­cent Health.

The study includ­ed about 4,500 US chil­dren ages 8 to 11 and mea­sured their habits against the Cana­di­an 24-Hour Move­ment Guide­lines for Chil­dren and Youth. It found that 51% of the chil­dren got the rec­om­mend­ed nine to 11 hours of unin­ter­rupt­ed sleep per night, 37% met the recre­ation­al screen time lim­it of two hours or less per day, while 18% met the phys­i­cal activ­i­ty rec­om­men­da­tion of at least 60 min­utes of accu­mu­lat­ed phys­i­cal activ­i­ty a day.

Only 5% of the chil­dren in the study met all three rec­om­men­da­tions; 30% met none at all…

The researchers found that as each rec­om­men­da­tion was met by a par­tic­i­pant, there was a pos­i­tive asso­ci­a­tion with glob­al cog­ni­tion, which includes mem­o­ry, atten­tion, pro­cess­ing speed and lan­guage. Those who met all three had the most “supe­ri­or” glob­al cog­ni­tion, fol­lowed by those meet­ing the sleep and screen time rec­om­men­da­tion and final­ly the screen time rec­om­men­da­tion alone, accord­ing to the study.”

The Study:

Asso­ci­a­tions between 24 hour move­ment behav­iours and glob­al cog­ni­tion in US chil­dren: a cross-sec­tion­al obser­va­tion­al study (The Lancet Child & Ado­les­cent Health). From the abstract:

  • Back­ground: Child­hood and ado­les­cence are cru­cial peri­ods for brain devel­op­ment, and the behav­iours dur­ing a typ­i­cal 24 h peri­od con­tribute to cog­ni­tive per­for­mance. The Cana­di­an 24-Hour Move­ment Guide­lines for Chil­dren and Youth rec­om­mend at least 60 min phys­i­cal activ­i­ty per day, 2 h or less recre­ation­al screen time per day, and 9–11 h sleep per night in chil­dren aged 8–11 years. We inves­ti­gat­ed the rela­tion­ship between adher­ence to these rec­om­men­da­tions and glob­al cog­ni­tion.
  • Meth­ods: In this cross-sec­tion­al obser­va­tion­al study, we obtained data from the first annu­al curat­ed release of the Ado­les­cent Brain Cog­ni­tive Devel­op­ment study, a 10-year lon­gi­tu­di­nal, obser­va­tion­al study. Data were col­lect­ed from 21 study sites across the USA between Sept 1, 2016, and Sept 15, 2017. The par­tic­i­pants were 4524 US chil­dren aged 8–11 years from 20 study sites … Over­all, 2303 (51%) par­tic­i­pants met the sleep rec­om­men­da­tion, 1655 (37%) met screen time, and 793 (18%) met the phys­i­cal activ­i­ty rec­om­men­da­tion. 3190 (71%) par­tic­i­pants met at least one rec­om­men­da­tion, where­as 216 (5%) of par­tic­i­pants met all three rec­om­men­da­tions. Glob­al cog­ni­tion was pos­i­tive­ly asso­ci­at­ed with each addi­tion­al rec­om­men­da­tion met.
  • Inter­pre­ta­tion: Meet­ing the 24 h move­ment rec­om­men­da­tions was asso­ci­at­ed with supe­ri­or glob­al cog­ni­tion. These find­ings high­light the impor­tance of lim­it­ing recre­ation­al screen time and encour­ag­ing healthy sleep to improve cog­ni­tion in chil­dren.

The Study in Context:


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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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