INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — New research shows a big lack of confidence in kids’ health today. The survey found most adults say today’s children are less physically and emotionally healthy compared to past generations and one local doctor believes they are probably correct.
Despite gains in preventing diseases, advancing technology and developing cures that have reduced illness and death among children, researchers say we are falling short in addressing the challenges affecting kids’ health these days. Those include mental health issues, bullying, safety and obesity.
The study included more than 1,300 participants with researchers asking about six factors that influence the health and well-being of children. Only two factors were believed to be better for children today by more than a quarter of the respondents, so not even a majority. Those are quality of education and quality of health care. More than three out of four believed emotional support from families, exercise and fitness, quality of diet and safety of communities have all gone downhill.
Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health psychologist Ann Lagges said it’s hard to separate out the emotional challenges with factors that influence kids’ physical health.
“They’re being pressured to be in more and more high-intensity activities, extra-curricular activities are a lot more demanding, that’s taking a lot more of their time, so a lot of hours of the day are just getting taken up with things like that and they’re not having as much time to just be active, play, or to eat meals that involve real food, or to get enough sleep,” Dr. Lagges said.
It’s important to remember, the National Sleep Foundation recommends children six to 13 years old get nine to 11 hours of sleep each night. Older teens should aim for eight to 10.
The researchers from the University of Michigan said the results clash with the American dream of expecting that quality of life will get better for each generation.
You can read the full study published in the journal Academic Pediatrics here.