More Playtime Outside, Limiting Gaming Help China Fight Kids' Sedentary Behavior - Eastern Mirror
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More playtime outside, limiting gaming help China fight kids’ sedentary behavior

By IANS Updated: May 13, 2024 1:48 pm
More playtime outside, limiting gaming help China fight kids' sedentary behavior
More playtime outside, limiting gaming help China fight kids’ sedentary behavior (IANS)

NEW DELHI — In a world-first, China’s recent laws on increasing play time outside, while limiting online gaming and homework have shown promise to fight surging sedentary behaviour in children, according to a study on Monday.

Sedentary behaviour is known to raise risks of a host of health issues like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, among others.

Researchers led by the University of Bristol revealed that the Chinese government introduced laws to restrict online gaming companies catering to this age group, limited the amount of homework school teachers can assign and also curtailed when private tuition businesses can provide lessons.

The measures helped achieve a 13.8 per cent drop in daily sitting time, which equals more than 45 minutes spent daily in this physically inactive mode.

Average daily screen-viewing time — including using mobile phones, handheld game consoles, tablets, televisions, games consoles connected to televisions, or computers — reduced by 6.4 per cent (10 minutes).

The study, published in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, showed that the pioneering measures have proved effective, and may help develop future policies and measures aimed at improving children’s physical and mental well-being globally.

“The results are exciting as this type of regulatory intervention across multiple settings has never been tried before,” said Dr. Bai Li, from the Center for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences at the University’s School for Policy Studies.

The lead author said that traditionally, children and their parents or caregivers were left to make behavioural changes on their own, which never really worked.

But, the new measures helped shift the onus to “online gaming companies, schools, and private tutoring companies to comply”.

“This very different approach appears to be more effective because it is aimed at improving the environment in which children and adolescents live, supporting a healthier lifestyle,” Bai said.

The findings were based on surveillance data gathered from more than 7,000 primary and secondary school students from 31 urban or rural areas across 14 cities in China in 2020 and 2021, before and after the regulations were introduced.

By IANS Updated: May 13, 2024 1:48:05 pm
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