Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Inadequate Sleep Linked to Kids' Obesity

Study Shows Shorter Sleep Duration Could Be a Risk Factor for Childhood Obesity
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
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration