February 08, 2019
1 min read

Only 5% of teens meet recommendations for sleep, physical activity, screen time

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A very small percentage of U.S. high school students met recommendations for sleep time, physical activity and screen time, according to study results published in the JAMA Pediatrics.

“Sleep, physical activity and screen time behaviors among adolescents are risk factors for physical health (eg, obesity), mental and emotional health, behavioral outcomes (eg, tobacco use) and performance-based outcomes (eg, academic achievement),” the researchers wrote. “Accordingly, it is recommended that children (age 6-12 years) sleep 9 to 12 hours and adolescents (age 14-18 years) sleep 8 to 10 hours a night, and that both groups accumulate at least 1 hour of moderate-intensity or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and limit screen time (ie, exposure to all screen-based digital media) to less than 2 hours within a 24-hour period.”

The researchers analyzed data from the 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017 cycles of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey. The analysis included 59,397 adolescents.

The researchers reported that, overall, only 5% of the study population met the recommendations for sleep, physical activity and screen time concurrently. A smaller percentage of girls (3%) than boys (7%) met all three recommendations.

Broken down by age, youths aged 16 to 17 years had lower odds for meeting the recommendations compared with youths aged 14 years and younger (adjusted OR = 0.77; aOR = 0.54, respectively). Hispanic/black youth (aOR = 0.31), Hispanic/Latino youth (aOR = 0.66) and non-Hispanic Asian youth (aOR = 0.37) had lower odds for meeting the recommendations compared with non-Hispanic white youth. Being overweight or obese, using marijuana and experiencing depressive symptoms also equated to lower odds for meeting all recommendations.

The researchers said the findings “have high clinical relevance,” and suggested that physicians should ask their patients about these behaviors at every patient encounter. – by Bruce Thiel

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.