Obese children are more likely to have poor sleep habits and a lower quality of life, researchers at the St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia have found.
The study found an increased prevalence of sleep problems among school-aged children who are obese and an association between increased weight and lower quality of life.
The study, authored by Kelly Ann Davis, focused on 100 children between eight and 12 years of age and their caregivers, who completed questionnaires at the child's well-visit.
According to the results, children who were obese had poorer scores for sleep onset delay, sleep-disordered breathing, sleep duration, and daytime sleepiness, compared to children who were overweight or healthy weight.
Weight category was a significant predictor of parent-reported physical, psychosocial, and total quality of life scores, as well as child-reported physical functioning scores.
Weight category and sleep problem category were significant predictors of child-reported psychosocial and total quality of life scores.
"In this study, sleep and weight each contributed unique variance for quality of life scores, thus indicating the need to evaluate daytime functioning in children with both obesity and sleep problems," said Davis.
While an increasing number of adults are considered obese, the number of obese children is also on the rise. Obesity can increase children's risk for developing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep-related breathing disorder that causes your body to stop breathing during sleep.
OSA, which can disturb your sleep numerous times on any given night, can result in daytime sleepiness, as well as an increased risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease.
OSA is a serious sleep disorder that can be harmful, or even fatal, if left untreated.
The study was presented at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).