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Kids living in poverty lack sleep, physical activity

30 Oct 2019

Toddlers from families living in poverty are likely to not meet guidelines for physical activity and sleep, a recent study has found.

The study included 101 toddlers (mean age, 20.2±5.5 months; 61 percent male) from low-income families. Participants were made to wear ankle accelerometers for 24 hours over 3–7 consecutive days. Parent reports on wake/sleep patterns of their children were used to verify daytime napping data.

Toddlers slept for an average of 499.8 minutes per night, corresponding to approximately 8 hours of sleep. The average bed and wake times were 9:36 PM and 8:10 AM. Sleep efficiency was at 80 percent, and an average of 1.8 naps were taken daily, each lasting a mean of 67.2 minutes. Overall, 44 percent of the 24-hour day was spent sleeping.

In terms of activity, participants spent 172 minutes in sedentary behaviour, 54.5 minutes in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and 579.8 minutes in light activity.

Only 32 percent of the participating toddlers met the recommendation of 11–14 hours of sleep within 24 hours, while only 26 percent met bedtime guidelines. Thirty-eight percent satisfied the preschool physical activity guideline of ≥60 minutes of MVPA.

Children living above the poverty line were significantly more likely to meet a greater number of sleep and activity guidelines than their counterparts (r, –0.229; p=0.02). Similarly, those who were not living in poverty were significantly more likely to fulfil the ≥60-minute MVPA daily requirement (odds ratio, 3.703, 95 percent CI, 1.455–9.428; p<0.05).

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