Childhood Obesity Linked to Daylight Savings Time
A new culprit in the fight against childhood obesity has been identified—Daylight Savings Time. According to British research, putting clocks back an hour in the winter discourages children from going outside to play.
The study found that children are more influenced by daylight than the weather when making their decision to play outside, the BBC reported. By retaining an extra hour of daylight, kids would be more likely to engage in physical activity during the winter, a season already notorious for weight gain.
According to the BBC, scientists studied the physical activity levels of 325 children in southeast England between the ages of eight and 11. The children wore accelerometers that recorded the amount of exercise they did, along with keeping their own diary of activity per day.
After studying the children’s results, researchers found that children did more exercise outside on longer days like those in the summer. They were also more likely to be active during daylight regardless of wind, rain and overcast conditions.
Researchers involved in the study say their results help strengthen the argument that Daylight Savings ought to be abolished.
“This provides the most direct evidence yet that changing the clocks so that there is more daylight in the afternoon could increase children’s physical activity,” said co-researcher Anna Goodman of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “The fact that kids spend more time playing outdoors and are more physically active overall on these longer days could be important at a population level for promoting their fitness and in preventing child obesity.”