Skip to content

Children's Health

Font Size

Inadequate Sleep Linked to Kids' Obesity

Study Shows Shorter Sleep Duration Could Be a Risk Factor for Childhood Obesity
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

May 4, 2010 -- Kids who don't get enough sleep are at increased risk of becoming overweight compared to those who slumber soundly, new research indicates. And this may be especially true for boys.

Researchers collected data on 723 young people with a mean age of 14.7, studying how long they slept on weeknights and weekends, how often they reported sleep problems, and the foods and beverages they consumed.

The researchers conclude that "particularly for boys and younger children, inadequate sleep is a risk factor for childhood obesity," according to a study abstract.

The study was presented in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies.

The youths were asked on three separate occasions about foods and beverages they consumed; they also wore accelerometers on their belts to measure their activity levels.

According to study researcher Leslie A. Lytle, PhD, of the Seattle Children's Research Institute, shorter sleep duration was related to higher body mass index and also to the percentage of body fat.

This relationship, she says in a news release, seemed especially strong for boys and for middle school pupils, compared to youths in high school. In girls, only less sleep on weekends was related to a higher body mass index.

"Sleep has long been recognized as an important health behavior," Lytle says in the news release. "We are just beginning to recognize its relationship to overweight and obesity in children and adults alike."

The researchers say their study is one of the first to document an association between sleep duration and weight in adolescents.

Lytle also says the use of accelerometers and 24-hour dietary recalls was "unique" and a "real strength" of the study. 

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
 
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.
 

worried kid
fitArticle
boy on father's shoulder
Article
 
Child with red rash on cheeks
Slideshow
girl thinking
Article
 

Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

babyapp
New
Child with adhd
Slideshow
 
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
Syringes and graph illustration
Tool