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Nearly All US Teens Short On Sleep, Exercise

Too little sleep. Not enough exercise. Far too much “screen time.” That is the unhealthy lifestyle of nearly all U.S. high school students, new research finds. The study, of almost 60,000 teenagers nationwide, found that only 5 percent were meeting experts’ recommendations on three critical health habits: sleep; exercise; and time spent gazing at digital media and television… “Five percent is a really low proportion,” said study leader Gregory Knell, a research fellow at University of Texas School of Public Health, in Dallas. “We were a bit surprised by that….”

“If kids are viewing a screen at night — staring at that blue light — that may affect their ability to sleep,” Knell said. “And if you’re not getting enough sleep at night, you’re going to be more tired during the day,” he added, “and you’re not going to be as physically active.”

Experts recommend a minimum of 8 hours of sleep at night for teenagers, plus at least one hour every day of “moderate to vigorous” exercise.

One professor of adolescent medicine points out that some high school homework now even requires using a computer — even though too much screen time can affect teenagers’ abiity to sleep.