An inverse relationship was noticed between short sleep duration and the risk of developing obesity in children according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity (2006).
Obese children have a higher probability in remaining obese in their adulthood. Obesity in adults is difficult to treat which makes the prevention of childhood obesity highly desirable. Therefore, short sleeping hours are a risk to your health and should be fixed before it is too difficult to treat its consequences.
“We found that short sleeping hours was related to overweight/obesity.”, said the author, JP Chaput. This finding is important to keep in mind because sleep duration is a risk factor that could be important for the prevention and treatment of obesity.
(422) children were selected to participate in this study (211 girls and 211 boys) aged between 5-10 years old.
The percentage of obesity was 20% in boys and 24% in girls.
The study found that children who slept for less than (12) hours per day were more likely to be obese and had a higher risk of obesity than those who slept for (12) hours.
In addition, the study considered age, sex and other risk factors, such as: long hours of TV watching, playing video-games, physical inactivity, low parental education level and low total family income.
“If we don’t somehow stem the tide of childhood obesity, we’re going to have a huge problem.”
The study also found that short sleep duration was associated with decreased leptin levels and increased gherlin levels (hormones that are linked to fat producing), and also increased hunger and appetite.
“The hormonal changes of leptin and ghrelin owing to sleep curtailment cause changes in food intake over time, we could add sleep duration to the environmental factors that are prevalent in our society and that contribute to weight gain and obesity.” the study reported.
Moreover, the study stated that the effect of sleeping hours on obesity on children appears to be independent of other risk factors. This shows that it should be taken into consideration as a serious matter, because obesity can lead to other diseases and maybe death.
In conclusion, the researchers stated that short sleep duration is associated with obesity in children, indeed.