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New app calculates a child’s optimum work-life balance

“This app helps guide healthier behaviors."

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Young boy concentrating on his schoolwork sitting at his desk in the classroom with his head in his hands reading his class notes
(ESB Professional via Shutterstock)

By Alice Clifford via SWNS

A new app that calculates a child's best work-life balance could improve their mental and physical health and their test scores.

It advises how much physical exercise or sleep they need, and indicates how much screen time is too much.

Researchers believe that it will help parents and health professionals to better understand the relationships between children’s time use, health, and academic outcomes.

The study found that shifting 60 minutes of screen time to 60 minutes of physical activity resulted in 4.2 percent lower body fat, 2.5 percent improved well-being and 0.9 percent higher academic performance.

Lead researcher Dr. Dot Dumuid, a senior research fellow at the University of South Australia, said: “How children use their time can have a big impact on their health, wellbeing, and productivity.

“We know that screens are not great for children’s well-being, so if they’re choosing to play video games at the expense of playing sports, it’s easy to guess the effects of the negative impact on their health.

“This app helps guide healthier behaviors."

"By tracking a child’s current activities over the day, and using the app to adjust these, we can model how any changes are expected to impact their physical, well-being and academic performance.

“It’s a quick and easy tool that can predict health and wellbeing outcomes for children.”

father with son in summer playing with kite
Gaining the optimum work-life balance, including time spent outside doing physical exercise, increases productivity and improves well-being.
(ESB Professional via Shutterstock)

The study, published in the journal PLOS One, took 1,685 data records from the Australian Child Health CheckPoint study. All the children were 11 or 12 years old.

To get started with the app a parent must enter how their child spends their time over 24 hours, spilt into seven categories: sleep, screen time, physical activity, quiet time, which could be reading or listening to music, passive transport, like sitting on a bus, school related time, and domestic and self-care, such as chores and getting ready.

Screenshot of the data input segment of the app which helps determine a child's optimum work-life balance. (Dr. Dot Dumuid)

The app also has an advanced option that accounts for puberty and socio-economic status.

Dr. Dumuid added: "The Healthy-Day-App lets parents, carers and health professionals consider possible changes to a child’s day and predict how this might impact health outcomes.

“I encourage parents to play around with it – it may just make you reconsider how much screen time your child has in the car, in a café, waiting for an appointment…try it and see. It may surprise you.”

The app can be accessed here.

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