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Habits for a Healthy Brain

BRAINPOWER New research shows that kids with healthy habits score higher on some tests. KALI9—GETTY IMAGES

A new study shows that meeting three benchmarks for health can strengthen kids’ brains. The benchmarks are getting nine to 11 hours of sleep each night, exercising at least 60 minutes a day, and spending less than two hours a day on recreational screen time.

The study was published September 27. It examined the habits of more than 4,500 children in the United States from ages 8 to 11. Only 5% of them met all three health benchmarks. Nearly 30% met none.

The kids were given tests to measure memory, attention, language skills, planning, and mental processing. Children who met all three benchmarks scored highest. The study’s authors wrote that the findings show “the importance of limiting recreational screen time and encouraging healthy sleep.”