Are Sleepy Kids at Risk for Obesity?
Children Who Slept the Least Had Greater Risk of Being Overweight
Hormones May Hold the Key continued...
Their studies suggest that sleep deprivation was linked to lower levels of
the hormone leptin, which decreases hunger, and higher levels of the
hunger-producing hormone ghrelin.
Robert D. Vorona, MD, who has also studied sleep patterns and obesity in
adults, says the research is fairly consistent but still inconclusive. He
notes, for example, that there is no consensus on how much sleep people
actually need to lower their risk of becoming overweight or to help them lose
"What we can say is that the studies to date show an association between
restricted sleep and obesity," Vorona, who is the Eastern Virginia Medical
School associate professor of medicine, tells WebMD. "What we can't say is
that these studies definitely prove a causal relationship."
In a poll conducted in 2000, the National Sleep Foundation reported that the
average American gets just under seven hours of sleep each night -- about an
hour less than is optimal for most people and about 90 minutes less than most
Americans slept in the 1900s.
Vorona says chronic sleep deprivation alters mood, affects performance, and
is a major risk factor for automobile and work-related accidents.
"There are plenty of reasons to get a good night's sleep," he says.
"And it is very possible that [weight control] is yet another one."