Canadian scientists have created exercise, screen time and sleep instructions

Research has disclosed that less than 10 percent of British adolescents fulfil the recommended sleep, workout and screen time rules.


According to Canadian researchers ' 24-hour movement guidelines’, children between the ages of 5 and 17 should spend an hour per day doing moderate to energetic exercise, no more than two hours per day in front of a screen, and at least 8 hours of sleep per night.


But a recent research indicates that only 9.7% of 17-year-old children in the UK handle all three suggestions, with more than 33% of adolescents spending more than 2 hours per day interacting with screens. The researchers also observed that screen time was the primary driver that does not comply with all three suggestions.


However, the idea of screen time is controversial: many experts say there is insufficient evidence to recommend a threshold for kids, with recent guidelines from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health stating: “We are unable to recommend a cut off for children’s screen time overall.”


Other study promotes the concept that what matters per se is not how much screen time, but more nuanced factors like when and how to use screens.


Mark Hamer, Professor of Sports and Exercise Medicine at University College London and co-author of the latest studies, said the proof indicated that the level of physical activity was the most significant of the three wellness behaviours. But, he added, he was looking at how time was spent on other operations to boost the exercise time engaged. He said: “In essence these behaviours are heavily interrelated as the 24-hour day is finite and increasing time in one behaviour tends to decrease time in another, [for example deciding] to play football instead of watching TV.”


The recent study, released in Jama Paediatrics, is focused on information gathered from 14-year-olds in the UK as part of a broader research effort between January 2015 and March 2016. Each person self-reported on an average college evening their median regular display time–including television, tablet and laptop use–as well as their bedtime and working times. An activity tracker carried on both a weekday and a weekend day tracked workout levels. Through questionnaires and measurements, other information was collected. In total, data from almost 4,000 teens was analysed.


The findings show that nearly 90% of respondents reported sleeping on a college night for more than eight hours, but only 23% said they spent two hours or less of a day interacting with displays. Activity tracker information disclosed that the suggested amount of mild to energetic physical activity was achieved by about 41 percent of adolescents. For all three behaviours, only 9.7 percent of respondents encountered suggestions. The group discovered that adolescents with depression symptoms were less probable to comply with all three suggestions. It was also less probable that overweight women and obese children would encounter all three.

However, the research has constraints including that both the length of the display and the length of the sleep were based on self-reporting, which may be inaccurate. Prof. Russell Viner, chairman of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, who was not involved in the research, said the study only looked at behaviour at one point in time, so it couldn't unpick causes and effects–such as anxiety. In addition, UK rules recommend that adolescents sleep at least 10 hours a night–more than suggested by Canadian rules. He said: “Other research has suggested that screen use might impact upon mental health and wellbeing through interfering with healthy activities such as physical activity and sleep. Whilst this study can’t prove such a link, it confirms that we need to focus on ensuring young people get enough sleep and physical activity during the day.”