Another Reason Gadgets Make Kids Fat: It Keeps Them Up At Night

from the no-sleep-makes-you-fat dept

There have been plenty of reports about childhood obesity and the various causes behind it. In the past, we've seen reports about how things like playing video games could contribute to childhood obesity by making the kid a couch potato rather than going outside and playing. However, a new report gives a different explanation for why gadgets lead to childhood obesity: they keep kids up at night (found via textually). This is really a two step process. First, the study shows a lack of sleep contributes to obesity and that "can disrupt hormones that help control weight gain." Then the study claims that it's things like TV, computer games and mobile phones that are leading to that lack of sleep -- and suggesting that parents need to remove gadgets from kids bedrooms. It's a plausible enough explanation, though, it's not clear the solution will really work. If kids want to stay up, they're going to stay up. What's more interesting are attempts to get the technology to fix the problem it's caused, such as adding physical activity to the use of the technology.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    dorpus, Oct 19th, 2006 @ 10:53pm


    for once, mike isn't blaming "poor parenting".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    yossi, Oct 19th, 2006 @ 11:48pm

    this is so true

    i have a brother who is glued to some monitor or other 24/7. and hes big as a whale. plus hes only 11.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Mr Fatty, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 12:11am


    That would mean Japan and Korea have some extremely fat people right? Come on, this is rubbish... People are always trying to blame someone or something else, versus taking responsibility for their own damn actions and children...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    tek'a, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 1:48am

    yossi, go beat your brother upside the head with a carrot. he aint fat only because of the monitor, he is fat from sitting there like a lump and eating cheese doodles.

    in any of these "oh my! technology is making people fat!" so called studies, they ignore the common fact that if you removed the tech in question and left the other habits in place, they would still be fat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    RichmondJim, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 4:01am

    Yeh, that's it!

    Next time my doctor is ragging on me for the excess pounds, I'll blame technology! (Of course, my job as a network engineer is what pays his bill!)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Howard Lee Harkness, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 5:47am

    optimal health

    There are 3 main factors in the achievement of optimal heatlh

    1) Diet
    2) Exercise
    3) Sleep

    They are equal in importance. And yes, there are other factors, such as avoiding gratuitous at-risk behavior.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 6:34am

    Time spent sleeping is time spent NOT eating.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 6:47am

    Hmm. Just sounds like more crap to me. If your fat it's your own damn fault, because if it was not self inflicted you would have done something about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 6:56am

    "If kids want to stay up, they're going to stay up"

    Um actually I don't buy that. If kids are bored shitless because they have nothing to entertain them, then they probably will go to bed. I know I certainly do when there is nothing for me to do.

    As for the Japs and Koreans not being fat, um where's your proof? Second my mate is Taiwanese he's 5' 7" and weighs about 130lbs (light eh?) Is he fat? No. Does he sit playing computer games a lot? Yes. Is is an unhealthy cunt with no stamina or energy? Yup!!!!

    Skinny/slim/lean != healthy

    There are plenty of people that are not obese but are still fucking unhealthy

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Howard Lee Harkness, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 7:01am

    Re: blame the victim

    In the past 3 generations, obesity has increased to epidemic proportions. There is a systemic cause, and it doesn't help to blame the victim.

    The systemic cause is a combination of bad nutritional advice (specifically, the low-fat fad) and agricultural emphasis of low cost over quality.

    Once I understood how bad the low-fat fad was for my health, I was able to relatively easily lose more than 100 lbs, and I have kept it off since 1999.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Eric, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 7:15am

    Causation not correlation

    Sounds like a chain of causation which is something that is not correlated at all... meaning...

    fat people play video games
    fat people are unhealthy
    this DOES NOT equal the logical statement that video games make people fat.

    simple logic to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Old Guy, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 7:21am


    As usual the media shows it's lack of understanding the fundamentals of research. Studies by defintion do NOT show causality. Studies are designed to show possible relationships. In this case for example, the study actually shows that children who stay up at night playing video games ALSO tend to be obese. It does not include confounding factors (as mentioned by tek'a) nutrition, general levels of excercise, genetics, etc. Only experiments can be said to prove anything! 'enuf said.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Xiera, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 7:51am

    Several things...

    1. Technology alone does not -make- people fat. BUT, it does deplete the resource of time, which would otherwise be available to exercise, etc.

    2. Opinion: Allowing a kid to have a TV/computer in (generic) his room IS bad parenting. The main reason is the loss of social interaction between parent and child. Let the kid have books in his room. At least then there's some gain for the kid AND you know what he's doing (and more importantly NOT doing).

    3. I believe it's Korea (if not, it's China) that limits the amount of time someone can do X online. I'm pretty sure that X is limited to online gaming, but don't quote me on that.

    4. Considering only one factor is not effective in determining causation.

    I'm going to claim that it's GOOD that Americans are getting so fat. Sometimes it takes an epidemic for people to realise there's a problem. I'm going to claim that the problem is threefold (because it is): a) kids need to get out and play sports (even backyard sports) more, instead of playing console sports; b) parents need to take an active role in getting their kids exercise -- i realise parenting is hard, but most parents are just lazy; c) our education system does NOTHING to teach kids about nutrition.

    Sticking with that last point, even something as simple as the two posts by Howard Lee Harkness would open some eyes. To add to his second post, something like

    30% of your diet is supposed to be fats
    60% is supposed to be carbs
    10% for proteins

    Granted, this assumes that you are getting physical activity, but it IS an accurate portrayal of what a healthy person should be eating. (Of course, make sure you get your vitamins too.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    wolfrune, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 8:00am

    ok wtf, as a kid i was active outside all day, i stayed up late, watching elvira.. mm ya, hehehe, lack of sleep yes. but i was not over weight. its not lack of sleep, its sitting around not doing jack that gets you to be a fat lard ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Luke, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 8:01am

    Time spent

    Time spent playing video games is time not spent eating. You have any idea how hard it is to frag someone while eating a slice of pizza? Or really eating anything else. Most games require 2 hands to play now.

    Also, why didn't I get fat as a kid/teen when I spent the greater amount of my time, even when outsdie, and all I was doing was reading. I wasn't playing video games - I was reading. I don't remember reading requiring that much physical activity.

    However, I do remember Mom limiting the junk food, coke, and dietary things to make sure that I stayed healthy. I didn't start to put on weight until college - when I changed my eating habits to always be fast, full of calaries, and less sleep and more food.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    John, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 9:06am

    Can't make?

    I'm not sure about the statement that you can't make kids go to sleep. What happen to getting the kid up at 6 am to do a chore or two, maybe having them get ready for school. Get the kid up that early and they won't have trouble sleeping when you put them to bed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 9:36am

    many factors contribute to "fatness"

    exercise, diet, biological factors, envirnment, and the like.

    to say that technology is the cause of obesity, is like saying yeast is the cause for bread. (you need water, flour, time, baking...things of that nature)

    so, yeah, get kids moving, and the like, but still.

    too much of anything is a bad thing. moderation. find what your body can and can't handle.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    SmartArse, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 12:20pm

    Re: optimal health

    > Diet, Exercise, Sleep
    > They are equal in importance.

    Really, equal? Like 3 * 2 = 6? The importance of these three factors is exactly the same, not even off by 0.000001%? How, pray tell did you measure this?

    Sounds like another fcuking meaningless use of the word equal. You should just say all three are important cause that's as far as your analysis takes you.

    Here's my analysis: diet > exercise because if you eat nothing you die within weeks whereas if you don't exercise you don't die for 50 years or more.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Cherokee, Nov 3rd, 2006 @ 1:35pm

    video games are bad

    i believe in what you are saying cuz i never play video games but all my cusins and friends do

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    wutup, Nov 20th, 2006 @ 1:48pm


    Anorexic people are extremely thin but I wouldn't exactly call them healthy would you?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Snarl Greywolf, Dec 27th, 2006 @ 1:48pm

    Fatness is one's own responsibility

    I agree with the sentiments of many here. Being a disgusting fat pig is one's own fault - not that of video games or television, etc. I play on average 2-3 hours of World of Warcraft (Thunderhorn, Alliance, Druid: Nahtepa - for those interested), but I also spend an hour in the gym and walk my dog a mile every night. I go hiking, ice-climbing and sky-diving. Video games, television, and all the other sedintary activities are fine... in moderation. Same with food. If you eat all the unhealthy crap you can get your grubby hooves on, then sure, you're heading for bovine-dom, but a little McDonalds or Chocolate cake now and again is fine.

    Moderation. It's long since been forgotten in today's selfish, self-indulgent, immediate-gratification society.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2007 @ 1:52pm

    It is the diet!

    Stop drinking colas. They contain high-fructose corn syrup. The body absorbs it with too much ease and spikes the blood sugar. Excess sugar is stored as fat. The spiking has the possibility of lead to diabetes. Stop eating the overly fat containing fast food. Fat = celeries. Taking in more than your body burns ends up stored as fat cells for later energy release in lean times. If you keep eating high calorie fatty foods all the time your body never sees a lean time so it just keeps storing and storing.
    Eating fruits, vegetables(frozen or fresh not canned), whole grains and natural sugars is better for you. The body must work hard to break it down for energy intake from it.
    Get out there and push the lawn mower to cut grass, walk the dog, swim, bike, etc. Anything to up the metabolism burns more calories. Strengthening your muscles builds them up and burns more too. Bottom line, eat less(calories), move more.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2007 @ 7:14am

    this article is so true

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2007 @ 7:15am


    you are so right you go girlfriend or guyfriend lol rock on

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2007 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re:

    what are yiu some kind of physico or something what is you go girlfriend or guyfriend? whoever wrote that just be quiet!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 3:43am

    good one thats really effected me

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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