Warning: School holidays may be dangerous to your child's health

That’s the conclusion of a new Australian study that found kids were likely to gain weight and lose fitness during school holiday periods.

The findings and their implications for kids’ “fatness and fitness” are significant for a number of reasons - not least that Australian children spend a full quarter of the year on holidays.

The research, published in the journal BMC Public Health, found children’s use of time was significantly different while on holiday compared to term-time. That part was not surprising!

Australian children spend a full quarter of the year on holidays.

On average, the nationally representative sample of kids studied slept 40 minutes longer than during term time and racked up an hour extra screen-time, watching more TV and playing more online games. They also spent 10 minutes less time in “vigorous” physical activity.*

shutterstock_148110578-1

Time spent sitting actually decreased during the holiday period by an average of about half an hour a day. (Kids do sit a lot at school.) But their total energy expenditure was lower by some 5.5%. 

And that, the researchers point out, could eventually add up to substantial weight gain and lowered fitness. 

The activity patterns they found predicted the average child would accumulate 650 g of body fat over the six weeks of summer holidays.

What’s more, the differences between holiday and term-time activity were constants, regardless of parents’ education level, socio-economic status or weight status.

Researchers point to a “counterintuitive asymmetry in the effects of reducing and increasing healthy behaviours.” Translation: it’s much harder to regain fitness than it is to lose it. 

The activity patterns they found predicted the average child would accumulate 650 g of body fat over the six weeks of summer holidays. On that basis, the researchers have stressed the need for “interventions promoting healthful activity patterns during school holidays.”

New call-to-action

* Note: this study, "Life on holidays: differences in activity composition between school and holiday periods in Australian children," although published in 2019, was based on 10-year-old data. Its authors point out that screen-time averages are likely to have increased substantially since then.

Manage screen-time and protect family time during the holidays - and all year 'round - with Family Zone's strong, flexible parental controls.

Start your free trial right now, and create a home where digital children thrive.

Tell me more!

Topics: Parental Controls, Screen time, Mobile Apps, school holidays, health, fitness, obesity

    Try Family Zone for FREE

    Sign up now to try Family Zone for 1 month, totally free of charge.

    Free Trial
    Subscribe to our newsletter
    Follow us on social media
    Popular posts
    Parental Controls | Cyber Safety | Cyber Experts | parenting | roblox
    Roblox: What parents must know about this dangerous game for kids
    Parental Controls | Mobile Apps | Cyber Safety | teens on social media
    Can we talk? 100 questions your teen might actually answer
    Parental Controls | Screen time | online gaming | roblox | sleep
    Family Zone: Now blocking Roblox with a single click
    Cyber Bullying | Parental Controls | Screen time | Mobile Apps | Cyber Safety | online predators | tiktok | paedophile | child predator | Likee
    LIKEE: What parents need to know about this risky TikTok wannabe
    Parental Controls | Screen time | online gaming | Fortnite | discord
    Discord: What parents need to know
    Parental Controls | online gaming | Social Media | primary school | krunker
    Krunker has landed - and it's got our kids in the crosshairs

    Recent posts

     
    How TikTok's funhouse mirror is distorting our kids' view of the world

    TikTok's algorithm pushes vulnerable kids toward risky content and risky behaviours, from eating disorders to self-harm.

     
    Would you pay to limit your own social media screen-time?

    We love our social platforms - but we also wish we spent less time on them.  A new study has found adult users are happy to pay for help in ...

     
    "Constant overstimulation" affecting kids' learning

    Teachers who've been observing concerning changes in students’ wellbeing aren’t imagining things. The constant overstimulation from screens ...

     
    Your child has less privacy online than kids in the US, UK & Ireland

    Aussie kids are sitting ducks for targeted online ads and privacy pirates, and will remain so until we enact protective legislation.