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Poor Sleep Linked With Childhood Obesity, study shows
Poor Sleep Linked With Childhood Obesity, study shows

Poor Sleep Linked With Childhood Obesity, study shows

Getting enough sleep as a child may be one of the keys to fighting off obesity.

Researchers from Mass General Hospital followed more than a thousand children from infancy to age seven.

The children were recommended to get anywhere from nine to 12 hours of sleep, depending on age.

The study found that those who consistently got less than that were more likely to be obese at age 7.

Study lead author Dr Elsie Taveras, chief of General Pediatrics at Mass General Hospital for Children in the U.S., said: “Our study found convincing evidence that getting less than recommended amounts of sleep across early childhood is an independent and strong risk factor for obesity.

“Contrary to some published studies, we did not find a particular ‘critical period’ for the influence of sleep duration on weight gain.

“Instead, insufficient sleep at any time in early childhood had adverse effects.”

The study found that, overall, children with the lowest sleep scores had the highest levels of all body measurements reflecting obesity and adiposity, including abdominal fat which is considered to be particularly hazardous.

Dr Taveras added: “While we need more trials to determine if improving sleep leads to reduced obesity, right now we can recommend that clinicians teach young patients and their parents ways to get a better night’s sleep – including setting a consistent bedtime, limiting caffeinated beverages late in the day and cutting out high-tech distractions in the bedroom.

“All of these help promote good sleep habits, which also may boost alertness for school or work, improve mood and enhance the overall quality of life.”

Agencies/Canadajournal




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