A model linking video gaming, sleep quality, sweet drinks consumption and obesity among children and youth
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There is a growing need to curb paediatric obesity. The aim of this study is to untangle associations between video-game-use attributes and obesity as a first step towards identifying and examining possible interventions. Cross-sectional time-lagged cohort study was employed using parent-child surveys (t1) and objective physical activity and physiological measures (t2) from 125 children/adolescents (mean age = 13.06, 9-17-year-olds) who play video games, recruited from two clinics at a Canadian academic children's hospital. Structural equation modelling and analysis of covariance were employed for inference. The results of the study are as follows: (i) self-reported video-game play duration in the 4-h window before bedtime is related to greater abdominal adiposity (waist-to-height ratio) and this association may be mediated through reduced sleep quality (measured with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index); and (ii) self-reported average video-game session duration is associated with greater abdominal adiposity and this association may be mediated through higher self-reported sweet drinks consumption while playing video games and reduced sleep quality. Video-game play duration in the 4-h window before bedtime, typical video-game session duration, sweet drinks consumption while playing video games and poor sleep quality have aversive associations with abdominal adiposity. Paediatricians and researchers should further explore how these factors can be altered through behavioural or pharmacological interventions as a means to reduce paediatric obesity.
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