12 Aug More Sleep or More Exercise: best time trade-offs for children’s health
With school holidays fast approaching it’s probably worth considering a plan to offset any excess overindulgence your children may have over the holiday period.
Whether your children like to be active or you just can’t drag them out of bed, new research is offering some flexibility for families in the best time trade-offs for children’s health.
A recent study from the University of South Australia has shown that the same decline in body mass index may be achieved by either extra exercise or extra sleep.
The findings show how children can achieve equivalent physical and mental health benefits by choosing different activity trade-offs across the 24-hour day, and provide options for busy families looking to get the most value out of their day.
An article published in ScienceDaily summarised the findings as follows:
On a minute-for-minute basis, moderate-to-vigorous physical exercise was shown to be 2-6 times more potent than sleep or sedentary time. However, while exercise has a greater and faster impact on physical health and wellbeing, children may be able to achieve the same 7.4% reduction in body mass index (BMI) by either:
- exercising 17 more minutes (moderate-to-vigorous exercise) OR
- sleeping an extra 52 minutes OR
- reducing their sitting or sedentary time by an extra 56 minutes.
Similarly, children may significantly improve their mental health by either:
- exercising 35 minutes more (moderate-to-vigorous exercise), OR
- sleeping an extra 68 minutes OR
- reducing their sitting or sedentary time by 54 minutes.
The study assessed 1179 children aged 11-12 years, from the cross-sectional Child Health CheckPoint Study. Physical wellbeing was measured via BMI, waist girth and body fat; mental wellbeing was measured via self-reported responses on the Paediatric Quality of Life Inventory.
For further information see below:
University of South Australia. “More sleep or more exercise: the best time trade-offs for children’s health.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2021. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210428100253.htm>.
Emily Ng, Melissa Wake, Timothy Olds, Kate Lycett, Ben Edwards, Ha Le, Dorothea Dumuid. Equivalence Curves for Healthy Lifestyle Choices. Pediatrics, 2021; 147 (4): e2020025395 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2020-025395