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Studies link lack of sleep in young children to increased chances of being overweight

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(NaturalNews) Sleep is an important part of helping the body repair cells and function properly, and an increasing amount of studies show that lack of it can play a significant role in determining whether or not a child will be overweight.

In fact, researchers in Boston concluded that "a 7-year-old who got less than 12 hours of sleep between the ages of 6 months and 2 years had 36 percent higher odds of being obese than a child who got more sleep as a small child." (1)

Studies show link between sleep deprivation in children and weight gain

The Boston researchers studied more than 1,000 children aged from six months to seven years, collecting information from their parents annually that included details about social habits, height, wight and, most importantly, the specifics about the children's nap schedules and overall sleeping habits.

The connection between lack of sleep and increased weight is likely attributed to fluctuations in hormones that get thrown out of whack when insufficient sleep occurs. Elsie Taveras, a pediatrician at MassGeneral Hospital for Children who was the lead study author, explains that bad sleep routines may mean that "eating and meal patterns are probably also disrupted in those homes." (1)

Other findings are similar, including one conducted by University of Washington maternal and child health researcher Janice Bell. Bell set out to see if sleep played a role in childhood obesity. She examined the sleeping habits of about 2,000 children as well as their weight fluctuations over a five-year period and ultimately determined that those who slept less than 10 hours nightly were almost two times more likely to go from having a normal weight to being overweight, or to go from already being overweight to becoming obese in that time frame.

Bell said, "It may be that children who don't sleep enough at night are too tired to engage in the kind of physical activity that may prevent obesity." (2)

According to the American Heart Association, nearly one in three children and teens are obese or overweight, an issue that now surpasses even drug abuse and smoking as a serious health concern. (3)

Sources for this article include:

(1) http://www.npr.org

(2) http://www.npr.org

(3) http://www.heart.org


About the author:
A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well. >>> Click here to see more by Antonia

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