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Childhood Sleep Linked to Obesity Risk in Adulthood

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

A new study out shows that getting a good night’s sleep could help protect children from becoming obese as adults. The study done by researchers at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand and published in the November journal Pediatrics, reports that among more than 1,000 people followed from birth to age 32, those who got too little sleep as children were more likely to become obese as adults compared to children who were more well rested.

Researches found that in general, as childhood sleep time decreased, adulthood body mass index (BMI) increased. The study also showed that adults who were considered “short sleepers” as children, that is averaging less than 11 hours of sleep each night, generally had a higher BMI than those who had more sleep as kids.

“Importantly, this is not because children who were short sleepers grew up to be short sleepers as adults,” said Dr. Robert John Hancox, the study’s senior author. “In other words, inadequate sleep in childhood appears to have long-lasting consequences.

Experts generally recommend that children between the ages of five and 12 sleep for about 11 hours each night, while teenagers should get between eight and ten hours of sleep.

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