Lack of Sleep Causes Weight Gain in Teens

Staying up late to play one more video game or watch one more show on Netflix may lead to your teen packing on the pounds, according to a new study published this week.

The study, conducted at the University of California Berkeley and published in the journal Sleep, looked at more than 3,300 teens and young adults over 15 years.  Data was taken from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which has been studying teenager behaviors in the U.S. since 1994. They focused on puberty, college years and young adulthood, according to a Berkeley press release.

Adolescents in the study reported their bedtimes and sleep hours while researchers calculated their BMI based on their height and weight.  The study reveals that every hour people went to bed late, there was a 2.1 increase in BMI (body mass index). This index is calculated based on weight and height of the person. Amazingly, the research found that the amount of exercise by the subjects didn’t affect the results.

“These results highlight adolescent bedtimes, not just total sleep time, as a potential target for weight management during the transition to adulthood,” said Lauren Asarnow, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in UC Berkeley’s Golden Bear Sleep and Mood Research Clinic.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30 percent of the U.S. kids and adolescents are obese, and it is related to other conditions like heart diseases and diabetes.

Source: UC Berkeley