Toddlers who sleep less may eat more

March 25, 2014, HealthDay

Toddlers who get too little sleep tend to eat more and are at increased risk for obesity, a new study indicates.

The study included children in over 1,300 British families who had their sleep measured when they were 16 months old and their diet checked when they were 21 months old.

Those who slept less than 10 hours a day consumed about 10 percent more calories than those who slept more than 13 hours, according to the study in the International Journal of Obesity.

This is the first study to link amount of sleep to calorie consumption in children younger than 3 years, the University College London (UCL) researchers said. They suggested that shorter sleep may disrupt the regulation of appetite hormones. Continue reading

Researchers identify primary factors responsible for preschool obesity

Jan. 15, 2013, Red Orbit

A lack of adequate sleep, having parents with high body mass index (BMI), and having their eating habits restricted for weight control purposes are the three most significant risk factors when it comes to childhood obesity for preschoolers, according to researchers from the University of Illinois.

“We looked at 22 variables that had previously been identified as predictors of child obesity, and the three that emerged as strong predictors did so even as we took into account the influence of the other 19,” said Brent McBride, director of the university’s Child Development Laboratory. “Their strong showing gives us confidence that these are the most important risk factors to address.”

“What’s exciting here is that these risk factors are malleable and provide a road map for developing interventions that can lead to a possible reduction in children’s weight status,” he added. “We should focus on convincing parents to improve their own health status, to change the food environment of the home so that healthy foods are readily available and unhealthy foods are not, and to encourage an early bedtime.” Continue reading

Kids who add sleep can subtract pounds, study suggests

Nov. 4, 2013, HealthDay

Getting kids to eat less may be as simple as making sure they get a good night’s sleep, a new small study suggests.

That doesn’t mean sleep is the answer to the U.S. obesity epidemic, but it might be one part of the solution, according to study author Chantelle Hart, an associate professor of public health at Temple University’s Center for Obesity Research and Education in Philadelphia.

The three-week study of 37 children, aged 8 to 11, suggests that increasing sleep could decrease food intake and improve weight regulation in this age group, she said.

Hart said the next step is looking at whether getting more sleep over a longer period might have an even more dramatic effect on weight.

“Achieving a good night’s sleep during childhood should be explored as an important strategy to enhance prevention and intervention approaches for obesity,” she said. Continue reading

Changing up family routines can help kids shed pounds

Sept. 9, 2013, daily RX

There is more to combating obesity than ensuring that children eat healthy food. There are other factors that can increase children’s risk of obesity — and they can be addressed within a family.

A recent study found that adjusting a couple household routines in low-income, racially diverse families could help reduce children’s weight.

The most successful routines involved increasing the amount of time that children sleep and decreasing the time they spend watching TV on weekdays.

Children in families making these changes saw a small but significant drop in their average body mass index (BMI). BMI is a ratio of a person’s height to weight that is used to determine if they are a healthy weight or not. Continue reading

Sleep less, weigh more

April 10, 2013, The New York Times

By Nicholas Bakalar

A new study suggests that adolescent obesity could be decreased if teenagers got more sleep, and the heaviest would benefit most.

For a study published last week in Pediatrics, researchers surveyed 1,429 ninth-graders, gathering data on height and weight. The children reported their sleep habits on weekdays and weekends to the nearest 15 minutes. The researchers followed the students with interviews every six months over the next four years, updating their data. Continue reading