The world is not in shortage of advertisements for high-fiber biscuits, cereals and other foods to warm people to the idea of a healthy body by gaining access to their heart. Nutrients can be macro- and micronutrients. We are all too familiar with the macronutrients that include carbohydrates, fats and proteins and the micronutrients such as vitamins, iron and zinc but what many of us don’t know is that fiber is a type of carbohydrates that the body cannot digest. It is a good carb that is essential for the body to help it with numerous processes. While most carbs are broken down into sugars and converted into energy fiber passes through the body in an undigested form. Each of us need daily consumption of dietary fiber to prevent individuals from getting hungry sooner, increase satiety levels and regulate blood sugar levels.
Kids and adults alike are becoming victims to obesity and overweight. Obesity epidemic in adults is bad but the same in children is worse as it lays the foundation for a future that’s occupied by unhealthy and diseased citizens. We are familiar with obesity and diabetes as serious risk factors for ill health in kids but there does exist a huge gap regarding fiber intake and health in kids resulting in serious constipation problems and digestion issues. These problems affect the day-to-day functioning of the kid affecting his/her quality of life and ruining her/her competency in studies and other streams. It is indeed surprising to know that such constipation problems affect the individual’s well-being even more than those kids with gastric reflux or inflammatory bowel disease. While children and adults need around 15 to 30 grams of fiber per day for good health it is a sad fact that most of us get between 10 and 15 grams only through various sources. The dietary fiber recommendations for children are extrapolated from adult data and there is a serious lack of coherence between intake recommendations and the regular fiber intake levels are fall below recommended ranges. Fiber is classified as dietary and functional fiber-dietary fiber includes nondigestible carbs and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants whereas functional fiber includes isolated or purified carbs that are nondigestible, absorbed in the small intestine and have physiological advantages on the individual. Vegetables, whole grains, fruits and legumes are excellent sources of dietary fiber while functional fiber is found in cereals, soups, frozen foods, etc. There are certain whole grains such as wheat and barley that increase dietary fiber consumption levels in children but these are also the foods that are not well-accepted by many kids. It has been seen that children get much of their dietary fiber from foods that are low in fiber density but the good thing is that they consume huge quantities of these foods. It was also seen that kids who eat cereal for breakfast consumed only 1 g of fiber more than kids and teens who skipped breakfast or ate other foods for breakfast.
Increased Fiber Intake to Reduce Constipation Rate
Increased dietary fiber (DF) was one of the main objectives of American Dietary Guidelines in 2010 but still intake levels remained below recommendations. Such decreased intake is greatly associated with poor diet outcomes and is a serious risk factor for constipation. We might seem to be relieved on reading that the side effects are only as trivial as constipation but what we fail to notice is that functional constipation has a worldwide prevalence between 7 and 30% and comes with painful symptoms that debilitates the life of the kid. While reduced fiber intake remains a risk factor for constipation children suffering from it have lower fiber intake than healthy kids. We do have evidences linking the benefits of consuming fiber on constipation problems in kids making it one of the best solutions and finest treatment options.
Intake of DF foods such as veggies, fruits and whole grains is linked to better diet quality that’s high in nutritive value in younger kids while the same is linked to reduced fat consumption in older kids. Hence, it is clear that there is a need for increasing DF intake to reduce the risk of constipation. A study was conducted on the same to check the effectiveness of DF intake with the help of introducing two high-fiber snacks per day on gastrointestinal function and nutrient intake in kids aged 7-11 years.
Randomized Controlled Study
The study on 7-11-year-old kids was conducted for 8 weeks in an elementary school on children whose teachers granted permission. 11 teachers granted permission for the study on their kids but it was seen that children with digestive disorders, food restrictions and food allergies were not included in the study. During the intervention period the participants were asked to consume two high-fiber snacks per day (all 7 days of the week) and the control group continued consuming their regular snacks irrespective of whether or not the snacks contained any fiber. All the participants were collected information on their gastrointestinal function and regular dietary pattern at the start of the study, again another set of details were collected midway through the study (4th week) and finally, a third set of data was collected after the eighth week of study.
Each child in the intervention group was given 2 high-fiber snacks which were selected based on their fiber and energy content such that the snacks fulfilled 10-12 g and also with the goal of increasing the consumption by 8 g per day. Every child who consumes both the snacks consumed around 314 kcal and 10.2 g of fiber per day. Along with the snack, all the kids were provided with a 30-ml glass of slim milk to avoid any GI distress. The beverage was included during each snack as too much of fiber intake too suddenly can cause constipation, gas and bloating and the person can relieve this discomfort by consuming fluids. Fiber is required for solid bowel movements but too much of it can cause constipation as well. All of the snacks were deprived of its original packaging, repacked by the team and served. Each of the kid’s consumption was marked as ‘none’, ‘one-quarter’, ‘one-half’, ‘three-quarters’ or ‘all’. The snacks offered included:
Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Little Bites Chocolate®
Kellogg’s FiberPlus Cinnamon Oat Crunch®
Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Little Bites Original®
Kellogg’s Cracklin Oat Bran®
Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size Blueberry Muffin®
Kellogg’s FiberPlus Berry Yogurt Crunch®
Kellogg’s NutriGrain Bar®
Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Big Bite®
Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Blueberry®
Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Strawberry®
Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Touch of Fruit in the Middle Mixed Berry®
Kellogg’s Special K Snack Crackers - Savory Herb®
Kellogg’s Special K Crackers Multigrain®
Kellogg’s All-Bran Crackers Multi Grain®
Sara Lee Soft and Smooth White Bread with Whole Wheat®
Sara Lee Soft and Smooth 100% White bread with Ca/Vit D®
Pepperidge Farm Deli Flats (Whole Grain White)®
Thomas 100% Whole Wheat Bagel Thins®
Pepperidge Farm Stone Ground Whole Grain Bread®
Thomas 100% Whole Wheat Mini Bagel®
Arnold Whole Wheat Bread®
Arnold Sandwich Thins®
Thomas Light Multi-Grain English Muffin®
Thomas Plain Bagel Thins®
Snacks were given at a time convenient for both teachers and students but there were occasions during which the snacks could not be served twice a day at school. During such occasions, the snacks were given home and the same protocol as the one followed during weekends was put into practice. All the kids were given a paper bag with two options for each snack occasion and were instructed to return the empty or full snack bag after the weekend to the research staff in the school. The parents and the kids were requested to fill an 8-question Questionnaire on the child’s digestive health. Two recalls were taken-one between Monday and Thursday and another one between Friday and Sunday via telephone. The average of the two recalls were used to jot down regular intake and total energy intakes below 500 kcal or above 3500 kcal were ignored for the study.
A total of 80 kids participated in the study and initially there was no difference in energy intake between the intervention and the control group.
Constipation is characterized by infrequent bowel movement, difficult stool passage and unsatisfactory defecation. A community-based study in Hong Kong on 3-5-year-old kids found that 30% suffered from constipation and so did close to one-third of kids in United Kingdom. Both the studies showed that kids who ate a high-fiber diet did not suffer from constipation and so did an Irish study on 5-8-year-old kids proved that constipation rates were almost double in those kids who failed to eat a high-fiber diet compared to those who had sufficient fiber intake. There are several studies showing that increasing fiber intake is the best first step to decrease the effect of chronic constipation in otherwise healthy children.
Different fibers have different effects on the body and by examining isolated fibers the effect of each on constipation could be analyzed in detail. In one study, children were given bran fiber and it was shown that those kids who showed improvements in constipation had higher fiber and bran intake than kid whose constipation did not improve or worsen too. In another study, children with chronic idiopathic constipation were given cocoa husk that resulted in less hard stools compared to those kids who received a placebo. Glucomannan, a special fiber, was given to kids with chronic functional constipation which improved stool consistency in almost 62% of these kids and also in 23% in the control group. Researchers found that giving fiber-rich foods to kids improved constipation levels according to both parents (68 vs. 13%) and kids (42 vs, 13%). There are numerous clinical studies available presently that support the importance of fiber intake on bowel function but sadly, caretakers including parents, grandparents and even healthcare providers are not ready guide their children’s fiber intake. Though fiber affects a person’s health in the same way as sugar or salt, fiber has not been able to reach people in the same vigor as the other two. Making people aware of the health benefits of consuming fiber will help in promoting and increasing fiber intake.
The Effect of Providing High-fiber Snacks on Digestive Function & Diet Quality in a Sample of School-age Children: https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-12-153
What do we Know about Dietary Fiber Intake in Children & Health? https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/3/1/47/4557086
Do you know that sleep is as important as exercise and diet to your body? Sleep replenishes energy, makes you active and keeps you healthy lack of which can land you in much trouble than you could imagine. The advent of smartphone era and electronic gadgets has ruined our lifestyles, pushed our sleep hours dramatically to 12 or 1 o clock in the night and shift work has brought upon a culture where we eat and sleep anytime of the day or night without minding our natural body clocks and circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are integral to each of us regulating our sleep-wake cycles and feelings of sleepiness/wakefulness over a 24-hour period. It works based on the area of the brain that responds to light which clearly shows why we sleep when its dark and remain alert when the outside sun shines brightly. We humans have evolved into creatures who don’t listen to our parents, siblings, spouses or anyone else doing what we like and liking what we do. While we do understand the importance of sleep with regards to regular bed timings, wake up hours and sleep duration to keep us healthy we don’t monitor the same nor do we try doing it. The invention patented here comes to our rescue here as it helps in assisting and guiding the user to set goals that promote consistent sleeping behavior. In fact, the methods and techniques discussed here promote sleep consistency and improve sleep quality.
While the general recommended hours of sleep are between 7 and 9 hours sleep requirements and durations differ from person to person in order to lead a healthy life. The invention here comes with a personalized recommended sleep duration that’s more precise (for example, 8 hours ±0.5 hours) in comparison to 7-9 hours that’s recommended generally. A ‘sleep session’ is the period of time during which the individual is actually sleeping or attempting to sleep too. It depends on the sensors too-sensors might indicate the time beginning from when a person first enters the bed to sleep, the individual might manually indicate to a biometric monitoring device the beginning of a sleep session or when a processor determines that the individual has started to sleep. Likewise, the end of the sleep session might be noted when the person exits a bed, the individual manually notes the end of the sleep session on the biometric monitoring device or again, if the processor has determined when the person stops sleeping. The start and end time of sleep sessions depend on the criteria used to determine the parameters. Wearable fitness trackers such as Fitbit might be treated as biometric monitoring devices to collect biometric sensor data or it might even be sleep-monitoring systems attached to mattresses or even operating from somewhere close by such as from a nightstand or so.
An individual goes through different states such as awake state, asleep state, waking state, etc., Again in sleep state the individual might be in REM or non-REM state and its not mandatory that an individual passes through each of the states while sleeping and the sleep duration determines the amount of time an individual spends in one or more sleep states that represent one or more stages of sleep. The biometric monitoring device might determine the time spent in each of the sleep states. After obtaining sleep parameters such as selected sleep duration, scheduled waketime and selected bedtime along with the individual’s selected sleep duration the individual’s sleep schedule may be tracked to find out how consistently the individual is meeting sleep duration goals. Sometime down the line the individual’s scheduled waketime and selected bedtime might also be clocked. Sleep monitoring is done by storing the sleep data in a sleep log data store that associates logs with specific users and sleep efficiency is calculated by monitoring the total time in a sleep session that an individual is in one or more sleep states or is not in an awake state divided by the sleep session duration. For instance if an individual goes to bed at 10.00 pm and falls asleep after 30 minutes, wakes up through the night for a total of 30 minutes and finally wakes up at 6.00 am in the morning the total time duration in bed is 8 hours (10.00 pm to 6.00 am) but he/she was actually sleeping (non-awake state) only for 7 hours (excluding 30 minutes to fall asleep and 30 minutes of waking up through the night). The sleep efficiency of the individual is 7 hours divided by 8 hours which is 0.875. Sleep efficiency changes based on different factors such as sleep environment, physiology, caffeine intake, timing at which the person retires to bed and so on. For example, if the person goes to bed early then he/she is less tired and spends more time trying to fall asleep but if the person goes to bed later, he/she is more tired and falls asleep more easily. In practice, sleep efficiency is always lesser than 1.
The invention displays a bedtime reminder in advance to remind the user to go to bed. Sometimes, snooze option in the reminder is also possible and the reminder is generally set based on the sleep state duration data of the user for the previous sleep session. The user might even be congratulated after a sleep session in which the user achieves bedtime target. The invention is of paramount importance as it guides the user and sets the user’s sleeping routine in a disciplined way. The patent was published on December 7th, 2017 and for more information on the patent please visit:
United States Patent & Trademark Office: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=2&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=%22sleep+consistency%22&s2=%22jacob+antony%22&OS=%22sleep+consistency%22+AND+%22jacob+antony%22&RS=%22sleep+consistency%22+AND+%22jacob+antony%22
World Intellectual Property Organization: https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/detail.jsf?docId=US206639948&_cid=P11-JYSF1P-05579-1
European Patent Office: https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?DB=EPODOC&II=0&ND=3&adjacent=true&locale=en_EP&FT=D&date=20171207&CC=US&NR=2017352287A1&KC=A1
The world is becoming vegan-friendly as a greater number of individuals have started adopting a vegetarian/vegan diet. Ironically, the shift is seen prominently in non-vegetarians who have started following a vegetarian diet owing to several personal reasons whereas, increasing number of vegetarians are turning out to be chicken, meat and fish lovers. Call it open-mindedness, an interest to explore different cuisines or simply the urge to do something forbidden, this transition wasn’t expected! As we see vegetarian, semi-vegetarian and even the stricter vegan diet that excludes even dairy and eggs apart from meat and fish becoming popular their nutritive quality and the ability to satisfy nutrient requirements have always been questioned. People adopt a vegan/vegetarian diet owing to different reasons and the most famous of all is health. These people believe that avoiding consumption of animal products helps prevent the risk of bacterial and other foodborne diseases and also avoid excess intake of saturated fat cholesterol and sodium. There are some who believe a plant-based diet to be rich in nutrients, phytochemicals, fiber and flavonoids, some who don’t eat due to their opposed view on the slaughter of animals for food and others who don’t eat simply due to religious beliefs.
Vegetarian diets are rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and soy foods and their characteristics have maximum benefits on the heart, have been associated for a long time with reduced blood pressure rates, reduced inflammation and have also decrease the risk of diabetes, cancer, renal diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and even obesity. Obesity has always been linked to various co-morbidities but the underlying mechanism for these isn’t clear. We have data linking adipose tissue inflammation and chronic diseases associated with obesity. Adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs), especially pro-inflammatory macrophages (M1 ATMs) are linked with insulin resistance. What remains a mystery is whether the accumulation of ATMs in human beings is only related to fat gain or whether it is related to diet also. Ceramides, a family of lipid molecules composed of sphingosine and a fatty acid, is found in high concentration within cell membrane of cells and has often been linked to inflammation and insulin resistance in muscle cell models. Increased exposure to saturated fatty acids shows increase in ceramide levels in rodents and these molecules have also been linked to adverse muscle profiles in humans. In such a scenario, researchers wanted to know whether pursuing a vegetarian diet would benefit the obese individual such that he/she would have less adipose inflammation and reduced muscle ceramide content in comparison to similar obese individuals who follow a non-vegetarian diet.
The adipose tissue is a complex organ that comprises of a variety of cell types with diverse energy stores, metabolic regulation and neuroendocrine and immune functions. When obesity strikes, the adipose tissue succumbs to disorders, its function and distribution is affected and also has effects on cytokine, lipid storage and composition of adipose-resident immune cell population causing advanced consequences on inflammation and insulin sensitivity. Earlier studies detected lipid composition differences of adipose tissue in rats which were fed a diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Linolenic acid is the major PUFA present in human adipose tissue and allows estimation of the stored essential fatty acid. The fatty acid composition of the adipose tissue is closely connected to the dietary fat content and studies show that individuals on a long-term vegan diet display increased composition of PUFAs and reduced levels of saturated fatty acids compared to omnivores and even vegetarians.
Study on whether A Vegetarian Diet Leads to Less Adipose Inflammation
The study included 16 participants among which 8 of them were vegetarians and 8 were omnivores. All the participants were of the same age and BMI without any chronic conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. All the vegetarian participants assured following a vegetarian/vegan diet for at least last 5 years and among these 8 participants 2 of them were vegans, one was a lacto-ovo vegetarian, one was a pescatarian and four were lacto-vegetarians. Blood samples were taken, a food frequency questionnaire was given and subcutaneous abdominal and femoral adipose tissue biopsies were collected using a needle liposuction technique. Muscle biopsies were also collected and tested for sphingolipids concentration. Plasma total free fatty acid (FFA) concentrations were measured and plasma IL-6 and TNF concentrations were measured. Fat cell size was measured and composition of fatty acids in tissue lipids were also assessed by extracting tissue lipids. For immunohistochemistry (IHC), adipose tissue samples were taken and viewed under a microscope. Two observers took 10 random images of the slide and counted the number of positively stained macrophages, crown-like structures (CLS) and total adipocytes for each image. Resulting data was expressed in terms of number of positive cells per 100 adipocytes. RNA samples were isolated from abdominal and femoral adipose samples for all omnivores and 5 of 8 vegetarians and analyzed.
Both the groups did not differ greatly with respect to age, BMI, body composition or blood pressure. Fasting plasma insulin concentrations, plasma IL-6 and TNF concentrations did not differ between the 5 omnivores and vegetarians taken for sampling. The answers in the FFQ helped researchers to confirm that vegetarians adhered to a plant-based diet and also could find out no significant difference in macronutrient and micronutrient intake among vegetarian subtypes. Total calorie intake showed not much of a difference between the two groups; total saturated fat intake was lesser in the vegetarian group but there was no difference found in the case of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat intake between the two groups. Individuals following an omnivorous diet consumed more of cholesterol and vitamin D while vegetarians ate more of fiber and vitamin C.
Vegetarians had more of oleate in the abdominal depot than omnivores and also had more of oleic, palmitelaidic, linolenic and myristic fatty acids in the femoral depot. Plasma FFA palmitate occupied a lesser percent of total FFA in vegetarians compared to omnivores while other fatty acids did not show any significant difference. Both the groups did not show any difference in the abdominal or femoral adipose tissue depot macrophage burden and the number of abdominal adipose tissue macrophages was also not different when expressed per 100 adipocytes. Vegetarians had fewer femoral CD68 and CD14 macrophages compared to omnivores. Omnivores had more CD206 macrophages in femoral fat than vegetarians. Adipose tissue TNF mRNA expression was greater in omnivores than vegetarians but there was no significant difference in femoral adipose tissue expression of either TNF mRNA or IL-6 mRNA between the two groups.
There was no difference seen in muscle ceramide concentrations between the two groups nor any significant correlation found between adipose tissue macrophage burden and intake of total calories, total fat, saturated fat or polyunsaturated fat. Trans-fat and added sugars intake were correlated with total macrophage burden and there was a positive correlation between abdominal CD206 macrophage and monounsaturated fat intake and omega-3 fatty acid intake. The study clearly shows that individuals following a vegetarian diet for at least 5 years consume less saturated fat and is also linked with reduced femoral adipose tissue inflammation.
For all those of you who have been struggling to succeed with a switch over from your favorite non-vegetarian diet to a vegetarian diet, this article would definitely be a motivating factor to continue your endeavor as it is not only good for health, helps in weight loss and reduces the risk of diseases but also helps in sustainable living.
Preliminary Evidence for Reduced Adipose Tissue Inflammation in Vegetarians Compared with Omnivores: https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12937-019-0470-2
In Vivo NMR, Applications, Other Nuclei: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/adipose-tissue
21st century is the age of technology and the adorable MTS baby ad (the baby starts using technology right after getting out of the mother’s womb) would be a reality-don’t you think (or rather fear!) so at least in a couple of decades? Kids and adolescents grow up surrounded by digital information and entertainment with the means of computers, tablets, smartphones and televisions. These young people spend more time online rather than spending quality time with family and friends. The digital world is full of amazement and surprises for these kids who love interacting with virtual friends, make friends without inhibitions as they need not bother about their physical appearance and have lots of fun playing games to which they get addicted to in course of time. The world outside is cunning and business minded. It loves to exploit the children’s weaknesses by developing sensational games that kids would love to explore, play repeatedly and finally shell out money purchasing different apps or unlocking levels. The days of football and basketball are fast disappearing as kids lock themselves in their rooms focused on the tablet or laptop for hours together. This indeed raises the concerns of health professionals and parents who are of the concept that prolonged screen time is bad for health especially with the magazines and the media reporting their harmful effects every other day on sleep, diet, social life and family life. But research studies are not many as many of them mostly include negative behavior such as snacking, sedentariness and socioeconomic grouping too as factors in their study.
We do have evidences that increased screen time is associated with obesity, decreased time available for exercise, increase in energy intake and reduction of metabolic rate. There are also side effects such as irritability, mood disorders and poor cognitive performance all of which affect academic performance. Such factors affect quality of life and there have been several guidelines proposed for reducing screen time-the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2015 recommended limiting screen time for children aged 2-5 years to an hour everyday and for those above 6 years it is up to the parents to rationally decide upon a fixed screen time for their children. The Canadian Pediatric Society too came up with similar guidelines in 2017. While time and again we have been insisting on limiting or preventing infants and toddlers from being introduced to gadgets and technology it is depressing to realize that the use of media has only been rising steadily for the past 5-10 years. Kaiser Family Foundation Studies report in 2010 suggested that behavior of 2,000 8-18-year-old kids showed that most of them spent around 7.5 hours daily on media where around 4.31 hours was spent viewing television, 2.31 hours listening to music, 1.29 hours on computer and 1.13 hours playing video games. Yet another study found that youngsters aged around 18 years spent nearly 40 hours every week accessing Internet from home computers.
In order to exactly find the effect of these things on kids a review of reviews (RoR) was taken on children and young people (CYP).
Review of Reviews
The review study question was ‘What is the evidence for health and well-being effects of screen time in children and adolescents?’
Based on different criteria finally 13 studies were included in the review-6 of them considered the association of screen time with body composition measures (including obesity), three for diet and energy intake, seven for mental health related outcomes like self-esteem and quality of life, four for cardiovascular risk, four for fitness, three for sleep and one for pain and one for asthma. We will take up each of these one by one.
Body Composition: Most of them were associated with television screentime. Most of the studies unanimously reported increased screen time with increase of overweight/obesity over time. Carsen et al reported that increased adiposity measure was associated with computer screentime in almost 3/4th of the studies but the same team could not find any association between video/videogame screentime and adiposity. In another study Ekris et al reported that across 6971 participants from five prospective cohorts BMI at follow-up was not linked to every added hour of computer viewing. While there is moderate evidence that higher screen time is associated with greater adiposity there is not enough evidence for an association with overall screen time or non-television screentime.
Diet & Energy Intake: Screentime in the absence of food commercials still resulted in elevated dietary intake and television screentime increased the consumption of palatable energy-dense foods while evidences were weak for video game screentime. Costigan et al reported that screentime did not promote healthy eating behavior, Pearson and Biddle showed that television screentime was associated with total energy intake and energy dense drinks. Here again, we have moderate evidence linking screentime with high energy intake and less healthy diet quality.
Mental Health & Well-being: There was moderate association between anxiety and screentime while positive association between screentime and depression. High rates of depression were linked to ≥2 hours of screentime daily. Carsen et al reported that screentime and behavioral problems were positively associated in 24 studies. There was a positive association between screentime and poorer psychological well-being and quality of life.
Physical Health: There was weak association between screentime and cardiovascular risk factor generally. While Costigan et al reported that higher screen time was associated with higher physical activity two other reviews found an inverse association between both. CYP cognition and development were examined in three medium-quality reviews. LeBlanc et al conveyed that there was low-quality evidence that television screentime had negative impact on cognitive development in young children. Many studies acclaimed that there was weak evidence that greater television time was associated with poorer educational attainments.
Sleep: There was weak association between screentime and sleep outcomes in all types of media exposure including computer, video screentime and mobile phone screentime. Pain was studied in very few studies and those showed a weak association between screentime and increase in neck/shoulder pain. Likewise, there was insufficient evidence linking asthma with television screentime.
This research shows that increased screentime was positively linked with a variety of health harms for CYP having strongest evidence for adiposity, unhealthy diet, depressive symptoms and quality of life.
Association between screen time & psychological well-being
We have a study where the effects of screentime on psychological well-being was specifically measured on 44,734 children and adolescents 2 years of age and older in the US in the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) conducted in 2016. All the children were between 2 and 17 years of age and were grouped into four categories: Preschoolers 2-5 years old (9361), elementary schoolers 6-10 years old (10,668), middle schoolers 11-13 years old (7555) and high schoolers 14-17 years old (12,753). Two questions on screentime were asked to caregivers (who are the participants here):
Studies show depressing results in terms of life skill development in children. More number of children between 2 and 5 years of age could use technology in a better way than demonstrate skills such as riding a cycle, swimming or tying their shoelace. Lack of enough playtime with traditional toys such as building blocks showed that language development is affected greatly. When toddlers (between 18 and 30 months of age) played building blocks with their caretaker, these toddlers showed improved language scores comparatively. Also, children who view television are captured by the attractiveness of the visual images and colors but mostly forget to pay attention to the storyline thereby failing to learn much from these fictional TV episodes.
More time spent viewing per day at ages one and three were associated with attention problems at age seven. Excessive use of television, video games and computer was linked to excess use of tobacco and cigarettes, early sexual debut, sleep deprivation especially when there is a television set in the bedroom (these kids score 7-8 points lower in math tests compared to those without a TV in the bed room), violent behavior not only that’s physical but also verbal, depressive symptoms and anxiety. A study from UCLA showed that screentime was associated with identifying emotional cues of individuals. Study compared a group of people in a nature camp who went without screentime for five consecutive days to another group who were bound to attend the camp later. The first group of people displayed improved emotional cognitive abilities just five days after the camp. The increase in screentime impairs social skills and affects the ability of people to understand emotions of other people.
Screentime definitely impairs social development, emotional intelligence, cognitive improvements and overall quality of life. Kids lose the personal touch with other individuals and fall in love with the virtual world ignoring the presence of the people around him/her. It is 100% essential to control screen time in children and help them enjoy a better quality of life.
Effects of screentime on the health and well-being of children and adolescents: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/1/e023191
Association between screentime and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6214874/
The impact of media use and screen time on children, adolescents and families: https://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/parenting-issues/the-impact-of-media-use-and-screen-time-on-children-adolescents-and-families
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