Can Lack of Sleep Make Your Child Chubby?

Taken from CNN Health

Catching up on Z’s could curb kids’ weight

Recent studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can affect your waistline. Less shuteye means more pounds. This also applies to children, which is tough for some. School, extracurricular activities and busy schedules can keep a child up at night. But research published in the journal Pediatrics finds that when youngsters are given the opportunity to make up for lost sleep by staying in bed longer on weekends and holidays, that extra time cuts down the negative effects of irregular sleep during the week. And that’s especially true when it comes to weight gain.

Doctors from the University of Chicago wanted to determine how much sleep healthy kids really get. In order to obtain an accurate measure, researchers used an actigraph (a specialized motion logger) rather than relying on parents, who, they say, usually overestimate by 60-90 minutes the amount of sleep their children get. Investigators also wanted to determine whether sleep duration was associated with increased risk for obesity as well as future risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

In the study, researchers monitored the sleep patterns of 308 children between the ages of 4 and 10 and and recorded their Body Mass Indexes or BMIs. They found that children who had regular sleep schedules and slept the recommended number of hours per night had the least risk of being obese or having unhealthy blood markers. In contrast, children who slept the least  and had irregular sleep schedules had more than a fourfold increase in the risk of being obese and having unhealthy blood markers that indicate the beginning of other conditions.

But investigators also found that sleep-deprived kids who catch up during the weekend reduce that risk from four times to slightly less than three times the obesity risk of kids who get adequate sleep

“Lack of sufficient sleep can have major adverse consequences to the body, such as reduced memory and cognitive performance, lack of attention and focus and in children hyperactivity and ADHD like behaviors.” says Dr. David Gozal, physician-in-chief, for the Department of Pediatrics at Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago. “In addition helplessness and depression can develop,” he adds.

Research shows that lack of sleep can also lead to conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, even cancer.

To continue reading, click CNN Health

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Filed under: Children’s Health • Obesity • Sleep
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