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Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022

Children's poor sleep quality nothing to yawn about

Children's poor sleep quality nothing to yawn about

The average time schoolchildren spent on electronic devices surged to seven to nine hours daily from two hours before the pandemic - a rise of up to more than four times.
And despite kids sleeping an hour longer, they went to bed later and suffered from poor quality of sleep amid online classes.

Only 5 percent of surveyed students met the World Health Organization guidelines on children's physical activity time during suspension of in-person classes, according to the University of Hong Kong's department of pediatrics and adolescent medicine and the InspiringHK Sports Foundation's study on 759 primary and 1,140 secondary schoolkids.

In the joint research from 2019 to 2022 that also included Chow Tai Fook Enterprise Social Science, the students were asked to wear a wristband for a week to record their daily exercise, number of steps, hours and quality of sleep and other data.

Findings showed that primary students were only doing 30 minutes of exercise a day while secondary students did only 15 minutes - one-fourth of WHO's recommended 60 minutes a day.

The amount of physical activities of primary students dropped by 17 percent while it was 50 percent for secondary students during the pandemic.

Patrick Ip Pak-keung, clinical associate professor of the department of pediatrics and adolescent medicine, said: "The suspension of face-to-face class has had significant impacts on children's lifestyle and the resumption of face-to-face classes has yet to reverse the negative effects."

He said the research revealed that sleeping quality can be improved if students spend 15 minutes more in physical activities such as walking, running, rope skipping and playing ball games.

InspiringHK Sports Foundation's Judy Kong Ka-wai urged the government push forward a 10,000-step walking challenge to encourage a more positive lifestyle.

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