Children who miss sleep ‘at risk of obesity’

Telegraph (UK) 01 January 2008

Children who do not get enough sleep are at greater risk of becoming obese, according to new research. Scientists found that seven-year-olds who got fewer than nine hours per night were more than three times more likely to be overweight or obese than those who slept for longer. The researchers believe that sleep restriction leads to hormonal changes in the stomach and in fat cells that trigger increased appetite.

Professor Ed Mitchell, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, said: “Sleep is important for health and well-being throughout life. Our results show a strong effect of short sleep duration on risk of obesity even when levels of daytime activity are adjusted for. This effect was independent of physical activity or television watching. Attention to sleep in childhood may be an important strategy to reduce the obesity epidemic. Prof Mitchell and colleagues, whose research was published in the American journal Sleep,