Study: Getting enough sleep lowers children's risk of obesity

Feb 24, 2011

Children who don't get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight, according to a recent study.

School-aged children who get the most sleep are the least likely to be obese or have signs of ill health in their blood work, according to a recent study in the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers from the University of Chicago studied the sleep patterns of 308 children, ages 4 to 10. The children wore bracelets that tracked the amount of sleep they were getting each night, received a BMI assessment and had their blood checked for lipids, glucose, sensitivity to C-reactive proteins and insulin.

The results showed that overall, children are only sleeping an average of 8 hours, which is less than the recommended amount. Children who did get 9 to 10 hours of sleep per night were less likely to be obese and had the healthiest blood work, according to researchers. Obese children slept the least and had irregular weekend sleep patterns, while those who had the shortest sleep duration and had the most varied sleep schedules also had the least healthy blood work.

The results reinforce that obesity is a major risk factor for serious future illnesses. In addition to poor health, those with conditions such as diabetes and heart disease might have a more difficult time finding health and life insurance coverage.  

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