Monday, April 14, 2008
Children's sleep important to prevent obesity
You probably have enough reasons why you want your baby/toddler to sleep, but you probably did not think of preventing obesity in your child. Research has been done in children making a link between infant sleep and overweight. Elsie M. Taveras, M.D., of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care in Boston tracked the sleep habits of children from birth to age three. She and her colleagues found that even after taking into account the mothers' BMI (Body Mass Index), infants who slept less than 12 hours a day had a higher BMI for their age and sex, higher skinfold thickness, and were more likely to be overweight at age three than children who slept 12 hours or more as infants.
The authors note the amount of TV watching had a minimal effect on the associations between sleep and overweight, although the combination of not enough sleep and more time in front of the TV caused the highest risk weight problems.
The researchers conclude clinicians and parents would benefit from using their research to find ways to improve quality and length of sleep for infants. Goodnight.
SOURCE: Short Sleep Duration in Infancy and Risk of Childhood Overweight Elsie M. Taveras; Sheryl L. Rifas-Shiman; Emily Oken; Erica P. Gunderson; Matthew W. Gillman Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(4):305-311.