hours of sleep everyday may reduce the prevalence of obesity in adolescents.
Obesity is a global pandemic, and teens are among the most affected. A recent
study sheds light on the link between hours of sleep and teen obesity.
Adolescence is a crucial part of the developmental period; "getting more
sleep each night has substantial health benefits", says Jonathan A.
Mitchell, who lead the current study.
Researchers from the Perelman School of
Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
observed in their study that
fewer hours of sleep was associated with notable increases in the body mass
of participants aged between 14 and 18 years.
between the duration of sleep and BMI had been established by previous studies,
but the scientific community had not succeeded in bringing out a unified theory
to explain it. Short sleep duration can lead to obesity
; one theory
suggests that people who sleep less engage in less daytime physical activity
due to tiredness. Sleep-deprived people, who are awake most of the time,
consume more calories, says another theory. Hormonal changes have also been
suggested as an explanation.
Adolescents who fall in the upper half
of the BMI distribution are the ones benefitted most from sleep. A higher
reduction in BMI was observed with each additional hour of sleep in this group
when compared with those in the lower tail of the distribution. The current
study is different from most of the previous ones that explored the link;
analysis was performed after adjusting time spent in front of computer and
television screens, and time spent on physical activities.
fear that educating teens on the benefits of sleep and good sleep hygiene may
not have a desired impact on their sleep duration. Instead, they suggest that
high schools delay the start of the school day, since this could gift the teens
an additional hour or so for extra sleep. Parents can also play key role in
helping teens to establish and keep routine bedtimes and wake-up times
like televisions or computers may be kept away from bedrooms
Reference: Beyond sleep duration: distinct sleep
dimensions are associated with obesity in children and adolescents; Jarrin et
al; International Journal of Obesity 2013.