Monday, October 23, 2006

Get Sleep to Prevent Childhood Obesity

I fully believe after living in an apartment complex that this report is true beyond a shadow of doubt. I know my own children get plenty of sleep but only because they are going to bed much earlier than many of their peers. I think that lack of sleep play a role in other problems with not only children but adults as well.

Yours in Health and Fitness,


Get Sleep to Prevent Childhood Obesity

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A good night's rest may be one of the answers to help prevent obesity in childhood, according to new research. The study suggests shorter sleep duration disturbs normal metabolism.

Researchers say we are facing a major obesity pandemic. While many factors contribute to obesity, Dr. Shahrad Taheri of the University of Bristol in England reports not getting enough sleep is one area that should not be overlooked.

Study authors say even two to three nights of shortened sleep can have an effect. One study found insufficient sleep at 30 months was associated with obesity at age 7. Dr. Taheri writes this suggests lack of sleep can reprogram portions of the brain that regulate appetite and energy expenditure.

Additional research reveals the levels of leptin were lower in those who slept five hours compared to those who got eight hours of sleep. Leptin is a hormone produced by fat tissue when energy stores are low. Also, another hormone called ghrelin, which helps signal hunger, was 15-percent higher in those with five hours of sleep. Dr. Taheri says these hormone changes can also lead to a want for higher calorie foods.

Dr. Taheri adds that lack of sleep in youth can lead to a vicious cycle. It leads to fatigue, which leads to reduced levels of physical activity, which lead to lower energy expenditure, which lead to obesity and in turn leads to poor sleep. "Sleep is probably not the only answer to the obesity pandemic, but its effect should be taken seriously, as even small changes in energy are beneficial," writes Dr. Taheri.

Study authors suggest gadgets such as computers, televisions and phones should be removed from all children's bedrooms as they are one reason children are not getting the sleep they need.

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SOURCE: Archives of Disease in Childhood, 2006;91:881-884

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