Sleep and Childhood Obesity

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Story Updated: May 20, 2014

Infants and young children who sleep less than average appear to face an elevated risk for childhood obesity a new study indicates.

The finding published in the journal Pediatrics is based on the tracking of more than 1000 children.... starting at the age of 6 months, up to the age of 7. Once a year, mothers provided information on their child's average sleep patterns.

At 7 years of age, each child was then measured for body mass index an indicator of total body fat. Waist and hip circumferences were also noted as was the amount of fat located specifically around the waistline.

It turned out that most of the children got consistently good sleep during their first 7 years.

However, the study authors observed that those who had a chronic history of below average sleep tended to pack on excess fat-both generally, and around the waist.

The finding suggests that one way to lower the risk for pediatric obesity might be to focus on improving sleep habits during the first few years of life.

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