Push back start time of schools for health's sake

It is heartening to note that steps are being taken to improve the health of our pre-school children by ensuring that they have more exercise, better diet and adequate sleep ("Improving kids' health: More exercise, better diet"; Feb 24).

More can be done to address the problem of sleep deprivation, and one step would be to push back the starting time of schools.

Currently, most children have to wake up before dawn in order to get to school on time.

It is an indisputable fact that the sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm of humans is governed by the light-dark cycle of the environment.

When we require our children to wake up before sunrise, we are in actual fact, disrupting their body clock, which makes them feel easily exhausted in the later part of the day.

This disruption has a price - shorter attention span, decreased alertness and poorer concentration.

In the long term, sleep deprivation can result in obesity, hypertension, heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

In our fight against the scourge of diabetes, we should do it right when they are still young.

Seah Yam Meng