-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Infants and preschoolers who
don't get enough sleep at night are at increased risk for later
childhood obesity, a new study suggests.
The researchers also found that daytime naps are not an adequate
substitute for lost nighttime sleep in terms of preventing
The study included 1,930 U.S. children, ages 1 month to 13
years, who were divided into two groups -- younger (ages 1 month to
59 months) and older (ages 5 to 13 years). Data on the children was
collected at the start of the study (baseline) in 1997 and again in
At the follow-up, 33 percent of the younger children and 36
percent of the older children were overweight or obese. Among the
younger children, lack of sufficient nighttime sleep at baseline
was associated with increased risk for later overweight or
Among the older children, the amount of sleep at baseline was
not associated with weight at follow-up. However, a lack of
nighttime sleep at follow-up was associated with increased risk of
a shift from normal weight to overweight and from overweight to
obesity, the study found.
The findings "suggest that there is a critical window prior to
age 5 years when nighttime sleep may be important for subsequent
obesity status," wrote Janice F. Bell of the University of
Washington in Seattle, and Frederick J. Zimmerman of the University
of California, Los Angeles.
"Sleep duration is a modifiable risk factor with potentially important implications for obesity prevention and treatment," the authors concluded. "Insufficient nighttime sleep among infants and preschool-aged children appears to be a lasting risk factor for subsequent obesity, while contemporaneous sleep appears to be important to weight status in adolescents. Napping had no effects on the development of obesity and is not a substitute for sufficient nighttime sleep," they added.
The study is published in the September issue of the journal
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
The Nemours Foundation has more about
children and sleep.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.