Study: More Sleep Equals Thinner Children

New research is providing more evidence that part of answer to solving the widespread childhood obesity problem could be more sleep.

The study, published in the most recent issue of the journal Pediatrics, followed 1,429 ninth graders, gathering data on height and weight. The children reported their sleep habits on weekdays and weekends, and the researchers followed the students with interviews every six months over the next four years.

Each additional hour of sleep was associated with a reduction in body mass index.  But, the heaviest children had the greatest benefit, an average 0.28 reduction in B.M.I. for every extra hour. The authors acknowledge that they had no data on caloric intake, which may increase with less sleep, but it is also possible that less sleep discourages physical activity and affects hormones that regulate energy expenditure.

To find out how much sleep your child needs based on his or her age, click here.

Source: New York Times and Pediatrics