Kids: Less Sleep May Lead to Overweight
Sleep Duration Linked to Risk for Being Overweight
Nov. 5, 2007 -- Researchers have found that children in the third and sixth
grades who get less sleep are more likely to be
overweight by the sixth grade.
The study, published in Pediatrics, followed 785 children from an
average age of 9 until 12. The children's height and weight were measured in
third grade and again in sixth grade, and their mothers provided information on
how many hours of sleep they got per night.
Overall, mothers reported that children slept an average of nine hours per
night and boys slept less than girls.
Lack of Sleep Linked to Overweight
The results showed that boys and girls who slept less in the third grade
were more likely to be overweight by the time they reached the sixth grade,
regardless of their weight in third grade. Sleep duration measured in sixth
grade was also associated with overweight among children in the sixth
Researchers found the likelihood of being overweight by the sixth grade
decreased by 40% for each additional hour of sleep the child received three
years earlier and by 20% among current sixth graders.
That protective effect was linked to earlier bedtimes rather than later wake
times in the morning.
Sleep duration may affect the amount of children's exercise or affect
hormones that regulate appetite, say researcher Julie C. Lumeng, MD, of the
Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Michigan, and
Sleep Tips for School-aged Children
Children aged 5 to 12 require 10 to 11 hours of sleep. The National Sleep
Foundation offers these tips to parents:
- Teach school-aged children about healthy sleep habits.
- Continue to emphasize need for regular and consistent sleep schedule and
- Make a child's bedroom conducive to sleep: dark, cool, and quiet.
- Keep TV and computers out of the bedroom.
- Avoid caffeine.