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Sleep and Obesity

November 15, 2013

There have been a handful of recent articles about the various health impacts inadequate sleep has on children's health. A recent New York Times article shared a possible link researchers found between inadequate sleep in childhood and obesity. Quoted below, the article highlights what I try to convey to parents from day one :

Teaching your child to sleep well is as important as anything you do as a parent to insure their safety, health, and ability to thrive!

NYTimes:
"Children who do not sleep enough may be increasing their risk for obesity, according to a new study.

Researchers randomly divided 37 children aged 8 to 11 into two groups. Each group increased their habitual time in bed by an hour and a half per night for one week, then decreased their time by the same amount the next week. They wore electronic devices to measure sleep time, were assessed for daily food intake three times a week, and had blood tests to measure leptin, a hormone that affects hunger, and high levels of which correlate with fat tissue accumulations.

Children consumed 134 calories fewer each day during the increased sleep week than the during the week with less sleep. Fasting leptin levels were lower when the children slept more and, over all, the children’s weight averaged about a half pound less at the end of long sleep weeks than short ones. The study was published online in Pediatrics.

The lead author, Chantelle N. Hart, an associate professor of public health at Temple University who was at Brown University when she did the study, cautioned that it was small, and looked only at acute changes in sleep and their effect on eating behaviors.

Still, she said, “I think these findings suggest that getting a good night’s sleep in childhood could have important benefits for weight regulation through decreased food intake.”

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