Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 November 2007, 10:30 GMT
Sleep may cut childhood obesity
The study suggests he needs at least nine hours and 45 minutes
A good night's sleep may reduce a child's risk of becoming obese, according to a US study.
The latest research adds to a growing body of evidence that links a lack of adequate sleep to weight gain in both adults and children.
Of the children who slept 10-12 hours each night at age eight, around 12% were obese by 11, compared to 22% of those who slept less than nine hours.
The Michigan University study appears in this month's edition of Pediatrics.
Dr Julia Lumeng looked at 785 children from 10 US cities and analysed their sleep patterns, weight and height.
She said it was unclear why the results were so stark, but speculated it could be because tired children are less likely to go out and play.
Their study took into account the child's original BMI, a calculation based on height and weight, and controlled their experiment accordingly.
But they did not look at parents' weight and behaviour, which may also have an impact on the child.
However the study does tally with several others, some of which have found that hormonal changes brought on by a lack of sleep can lead to an increased appetite.
Bristol University research found that people who habitually slept just five hours each night had 15% more ghrelin, a hormone which increases feelings of hunger, than those who slept for eight hours.
A further study found those who slept little were more likely to eat calorie-rich sweet and starchy food during the day.
It has even been suggested that the link may hark back to prehistoric times, when humans stored up on fat during the summer months when food was plentiful and they slept less as a result of the shorter nights.
"We are just starting to work out the mechanisms: hormones play a role, but a lack of physical activity, which tires you out, could well be a factor too," said Dr Sharhad Taheri, who has studied the relationship between sleep and obesity closely.
"Parents need to realise the importance of sleep. Taking televisions and gadgets out of bedrooms could be a really good start."
Published online November 1, 2007
PEDIATRICS Vol. 120 No. 5 November 2007, pp. 1020-1029 (doi:10.1542/peds.2006-3295)
Shorter Sleep Duration Is Associated With Increased Risk for Being Overweight at Ages 9 to 12 Years
Julie C. Lumeng, MDa,b, Deepak Somashekar, BSa, Danielle Appugliese, MPHc, Niko Kaciroti, PhDa, Robert F. Corwyn, PhDd and Robert H. Bradley, PhDe
a Center for Human Growth and Development
b Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
c Data Coordinating Center, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
d Department of Psychology and
e Center for Applied Studies in Education, University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Arkansas
OBJECTIVE. The potential association between short sleep duration or sleep problems and childhood overweight has not been well described. The objective of this study was to test the independent associations of sleep duration and problems with overweight risk in children.
METHODS. Data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development were analyzed. In 3rd and 6th grades, sleep duration and problems were obtained by maternal report, and height and weight were measured, with overweight defined as a BMI of ?95th percentile for age and gender. Logistic regression evaluated the association of sleep duration and problems with overweight at 6th grade cross-sectionally adjusting for gender, race, and maternal education. Additional covariates tested individually included the level of chaos at home, the quality of the home environment, the lax-parenting subscale score of the Raising Children Checklist, and the Child Behavior Checklist internalizing and externalizing subscale scores. Logistic regression also evaluated the relationship of sleep duration at 3rd grade and overweight at 6th grade, adjusting for gender, race, maternal education, and the child's BMI z score in 3rd grade.
RESULTS. Of 785 children, 50% were male, 81% were white, and 18% were overweight in 6th grade. Shorter sleep duration in 6th grade was independently associated with a greater likelihood of overweight in 6th grade. Shorter sleep duration in 3rd grade was also independently associated with overweight in 6th grade, independent of the child's weight status in 3rd grade. Sleep problems were not associated with overweight.
CONCLUSION. One preventive approach to overweight may be to ensure adequate sleep in childhood.
Key Words: obesity . overweight . sleep . NICHD Study of Early Child Care
Abbreviations: SES―socioeconomic status . NICHD-SECCYD―National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development . CSHQ―Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire . HOME―Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment . CBCL―Child Behavior Checklist . OR―odds ratio . CI―confidence interval
Accepted May 29, 2007.
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