Children with a television in their room are around a third more likely to be obese.
The more electronics children have in their room, the more likely they are to be obese or overweight.
The temptation of watching DVDs or playing games is too much for youngsters - and leads them to missing out on sleep, and becoming less active duiring the day.
As little as one hour of additional sleep decreased the odds of being overweight or obese by 28 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively.
Children with one or more electronic devices in the bedroom—TVs, computers, video games and cellphones —were also far more likely to be overweight or obese.
“If you want your kids to sleep better and live a healthier lifestyle, get the technology out of the bedroom,” said co-author Paul Veugelers, a professor in the School of Public Health, Canada.
Nearly 3,400 nine and 10 year old students students were asked about their nighttime sleep habits and access to electronics through the REAL Kids Alberta survey.
Half of the students had a TV, DVD player or video game console in their bedroom, 21 per cent had a computer and 17 per cent had a smartphone. Five per cent of students had all three types of devices.
Some 57 per cent of students reported using electronics after they were supposed to be asleep, with watching TV and movies being the most popular activity. Twenty-seven per cent of students engaged in three or more activities after bedtime.
Researchers found that students with access to one electronic device were 1.47 times as likely to be overweight as kids with no devices in the bedroom. That increased to 2.57 times for kids with three devices, with similar results reported among obese children.
More sleep also led to significantly more physical activity and better diet choices, researchers found.
Co-author Christina Fung noted that children today are not sleeping as much as previous generations, with two-thirds not getting the recommended hours of sleep per night. In addition to healthy lifestyle habits, a good night’s sleep has been linked to better academic outcomes, fewer mood disorders and other positive health outcomes, she said.
“It’s important to teach these children at an earlier age and teach them healthy habits when they are younger.”