Infant Weight Gain Caused by Insufficient Sleep

May 21, 2008 11:24 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Infants and toddlers who sleep less than 12 hours per day are more likely to be overweight by the time they reach three years old.

30-Second Summary

Researchers followed 915 children in Massachusetts in an ongoing study, collecting information about their sleeping habits at 6 months old, and their television viewing and sleeping habits at 1 and 2 years old.

The youngsters who slept less than 12 hours a day were twice as likley to become overweight by the time they reached three years old. But researchers are still uncertain as to why lack of sleep can be tied to weight gain.

Researchers thought children who slept less were watching more TV, which might cause the weight gain, but that wasn't always the case. Decreasing the amount of time children watched television only had a marginal effect on the correlation between nighttime sleep and weight.

Studies of older children and adults have drawn parallels between their amounts of wakeful time and weight gain.

Matthew Gillman, a co-author of the Massachusetts study, suggested that people who sleep less may experience hormone changes that increase appetite.

Today roughly one in four children between the ages of two and five carries excessive weight.

Headline Links: Babies gain weight with less sleep

Related Links: Preventing childhood obesity

Reference: Massachusetts study, sleep and childhood obesity resources


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