Facts with Hope
FACT: Early music choice may indicate later problem behavior. A Netherlands study found that early fans of different types of rock (e.g., rock, heavy metal, gothic, punk), African American music (rhythm and blues, hip-hop), and electronic dance music (trance, techno/hardhouse) showed elevated minor delinquency concurrently and longitudinally. Preferring conventional pop or highbrow music (classic music, jazz), in contrast, was not related to or was negatively related to minor delinquency.1
HOPE: Choose to play only uplifting music in your home and car. In addition, you can influence the type of music your children listen to by teaching them about different music styles and lyrics, and helping them to identify degrading and negative music. The music we listen to impacts the choices we make.
FACT: Canadian researchers studied 500 children ages 8-10 and found that self-reported screen time was positively associated with waist circumference and negatively associated with HDL cholesterol. The children that spent more time in front of TV, computer and video games, had larger waists and lower HDL cholesterol levels, even after adjusting for exercise, sleep duration, energy intake, and other variables.2
HOPE: In both children and adults, time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is essential for good health. These results show that in addition to encouraging our children to move more, we can further lower their risk for disease by reducing their overall screen-related sedentary time.
FACT: Scientists at the Mayo Clinic have found that the use of smartphones and tablets during bedtime can disrupt sleep. Electronic devices are bright light-emitting diodes, which used at night can interfere with melatonin, a hormone that controls the sleep-wake cycle.3
HOPE: Do you spend your last moments before sleep reading on a tablet or checking messages on a smart phone? You can decrease your risk of suppressed melatonin secretion and sleep disturbance by lowering the brightness settings and holding the device at least 14 inches from your face.
FACT: Having a pet (especially a dog) might lower your risk of heart disease, according to a new American Heart Association scientific statement. A review of previous studies on the influence of pets on human health found that pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, stress, and incidence of obesity. One study of over 5,200 adults showed that dog owners were more active than non-dog owners, and were 54 percent more likely to reach recommended levels of physical activity.4
HOPE: As you consider your leisure time activities, think about the loving relationship you have with your dog. Not only can pets pull at your heartstrings, but they improve your heart health so that you will live a longer and happier life. Perhaps a dog really is “man’s best friend.”
- Ter Bogt, T. F., Keijsers, L. & Meeus, W. H. (2013). Early adolescent music preferences and minor delinquency. Pediatrics 131(2), e380-e389. doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-0708.
- Chaput, J., Saunders, T., Mathieu, M., Henderson, M., Tremblay, M., O'Loughlin, J. & Tremblay, A. (2013). Combined associations between moderate to vigorous physical activity and sedentary behaviour with cardiometabolic risk factors in children. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 38(5): 477-483. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2012-0382.
- Mayo Clinic - Are Smartphones Disrupting Your Sleep? Mayo Clinic Study Examines the Question. (2013, June 3). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2013-rst/7505.html
- Levine, G. N., Allen, K., Braun, L. T., Chrsitian, H. E., Friedmann, E., Taubert, K. A., . . . Lange, R. A. (2013). Pet ownership and cardiovascular risk: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation, published online before print May 9, 2013. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0b013e31829201e1