Lack of Sleep linked to Childhood Obesity

Updated at: May 25, 2012
Lack of Sleep linked to Childhood Obesity

Lack of Sleep linked to Childhood Obesity - Children who do not get adequate sleep may increase genetic risks for obesity. Read more about relationship between lack of sleep and childhood obesity.

Dr Poonam Sachdev
ObesityWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: May 24, 2011

Kid taking a napChildhood obesity is increasing steadily and it has been observed that obese children are more likely to become obese adults.  Most of us think that overeating and lack of exercise leads to obesity. But have you ever considered lack of sleep as a cause of childhood obesity? It may sound strange that part of the solution to childhood obesity might lie in sleep (an activity which is quite sedentary). Read on know more about the relationship between lack of sleep and childhood obesity.


Relationship Between Sleep and Obesity

Lack of sleep has been observed to impact the hormonal balance. It increases the hormone ghrelin, (the hormone responsible for hunger) and decreases the hormone leptin (the hormone which reduces hunger). According a recent research, the amount of sleep a child gets can significantly impact his weight. The study included 422 children (both boys and girls) aged between 5 to 10 years. It was observed that children who did not sleep enough (less than 10 hours a night) were 3 1/2 times more likely to be overweight than who slept well (12 hours or more). In light of this study, researchers can further study the effect of sleep duration and other environmental factors prevalent in our society on weight gain and obesity.



Is your child sleeping enough? The sleep requirement varies with age and activity level. In general, toddlers and small children need 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night. The sleep requirement decrease gradually and slightly each year, and by teenage years, about nine hours of sleep at night is enough. So, besides ensuring that your child eats well, make sure that your child sleeps enough for his age and has a good activity level. You should understand that obesity in childhood is linked to lack of sleep. Teach your child good sleeping habits right from the start.



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