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Lack of sleep is associated with obesity in kids

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Obesity is becoming a more serious problem than ever for a lot of kids due to poor diets and sedentary lifestyles. Recent research shows that chronic insufficient sleep increases obesity in kids reported Massachusetts General Hospital on May 19, 2014. Researchers have said that there is compelling evidence that kids who consistently receive less than the recommended hours of sleep during infancy and early childhood have increases in obesity and in overall body fat at age 7.

Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH, lead author of the research paper, says this study found convincing evidence that getting less than the recommended amounts of sleep across early childhood serves as an independent and strong risk factor for obesity and adiposity. Contrary to what some published studies have claimed these researchers did not find a particular ‘critical period’ for the influence of sleep duration on weight gain. It was instead found that insufficient sleep at any time in early childhood had adverse effects on sleep.

Overall it was found that kids with the lowest sleep scores had the highest levels of all body measurements which reflected obesity and adiposity. This consideration included abdominal fat which is considered to be particularly hazardous. Homes with lower incomes, less maternal education and racial and ethnic minorities had lower sleep scores.

It has been recommended that clinicians teach young patients and their parents about ways to get a better night’s sleep. Such considerations include setting a consistent bedtime, limiting caffeinated beverages at the end of the day and limiting high-tech distractions in the bedroom. By promoting good sleep in such manners there may be boosted alertness for school or work and improved mood.

This study has been published in the June issue of Pediatrics. The researchers set out to investigate the extent to which chronic sleep curtailment from infancy through to mid-childhood is associated with adiposity. It has been concluded chronic sleep curtailment from infancy to school age was linked to higher overall and central adiposity in mid-childhood. Therefore in order to fight obesity kids should be encouraged to eat nutritious, low calorie food, exercise regularly, and sleep well at night.

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