Focus on healthy behaviors in children

Local News

Striking the proper balance among three key factors – sleep, exercise and screen time – can make a big difference in the overall health of children and teenagers.

Dr. Mathew Devine, the Medical Director for Accountable Health Partners and the Associate Medical Director for Highland Family Medicine, and his daughter Hannah, a sixth-grader at Twelve Corners Middle School in Brighton, discussed the factors Friday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“According to the Academy of Pediatrics, essentially kids the ages of 6 to 12 years old really should get 9 to 12 hours of sleep per night,” Dr. Devine said. “For teenagers that are 13 and above, they really need to get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night. And that’s a lot that they are sort of missing out on now. So they really want to develop good habits, try to balance that so they can be ready to go during the daytime.”

Hannah said she shoots for about 10 hours of sleep to feel rested. “Sometimes I don’t feel good or I’m kind of moody in the morning if I don’t get enough sleep in a night.”

Exercise and screen time are key factors that can be tied together. ‘The biggest thing about exercise is it really should be 60 minutes over a 24 hour period,” explained Dr. Devine. “A lot of times we’ve talked about 30 minutes of activity but this is doubling that, so you have to think about the fact that, that’s significant and having an opportunity or venue to do that is so important because of safety outside of the home. Sometimes we struggle to get that 60 minutes, so that’s critical. And then when it comes to screen time we’re really shooting for less than two hours of that, which think about now – the way that we teach our kids and that they’re learning. They’re in front of a screen a lot of the day, not just ‘playing.’ Sometimes they’re learning so those have to be added up within that kind of calculation as well.”

Hannah said she is focused on her screen time. “I will set a timer so I know when to get off of my screen so I’m not on for too long. I walk to and from school because I’m less than a mile away and sometimes if I do a sport or some kind of activity after school it kind of gets me up in that 60-minute zone.”

Next week in part two of our conversation on healthy behaviors in children and teens we’ll discuss the benefits of proper sleep, exercise and screen time.




 

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