Wednesday, March 05, 2008

How Does Sleep Duration Link To Childhood Obesity?

Childhood obesity is a tough issue and many health experts have attributed such disorder to unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyle. However, a recent study has found that children who lack enough sleep face a greater risk of becoming obese than kids who get a good night's sleep.

An analysis of epidiomogical studies by the researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health revealed on February 5, 2008 that each extra hour of sleep cuts a child's risk of becoming overweight or obese by 9 percent. In comparison, children who got the least sleep had a 92 per cent higher chance of being overweight or obese than children who slept enough.

The researchers reviewed 17 published studies on sleep duration and childhood obesity, and the finding was published in the journal Obesity. The results clearly shows there is association between sleep duration and the risk for overweight or obesity in children, and the risk decreased with more sleep.

When comparing with other measures, desirable sleep behavior may be an important low cost means to prevent childhood obesity. As such, it should be considered in future intervention studies, as recommended by the researchers.

The findings may also have important implications for societies where children with insufficient sleep due to the pressure for academic excellence and where the rate of obesity is rising, such as in many East Asian countries.

As recommended and supported by other researches, those children under 5 years old sleep 11 hours or more a day, while children age 5 to 10 should get 10 or more hours of sleep, and children older than 10 should sleep at least 9 hours.

One should bear in mind that childhood obesity may lead to many chronic diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. when these obese children become adults later on.

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