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

Promoting a unified message on diet and physical activity

A recent commentary published in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention examines the advantages of using an energy-balance framework to unify diet and physical activity messages so that adults and their children are better able to understand and follow these guidelines.

Energy balance is an essential principle of weight regulation. Maintaining a healthy body weight is fundamentally a balance between the amount of food eaten and the amount of energy expended throughout the day. So, if a person eats fewer calories than he or she expends weight loss will occur. The opposite is also true; if a person’s energy intake is consistently higher than his or hers energy expenditure then the result is weight gain. Continue reading