According to a new study, lack of sleep in children, could lead to obesity.
Researchers from the University of Laval's faculty of medicine studied 422 grade school students aged 5 to 10 and measured the weight, height, and waist size of each participant.
They also gathered information on the children's lifestyle and socio-economic status through phone interviews with their parents, reported health portal News-Medical.Net.
Through body mass index measurement, the researchers determined that 20 percent of the boys and 24 percent of the girls were overweight.
The risk of becoming overweight is 3.5 times higher in children who get less sleep than 10 hours a night than those who slept 12 or more hours, according to researchers.
Obesity and the loss of sleep have become increasingly important social issues over the last few decades. Between 1960 and 2000, the prevalence of obesity has doubled in the population while the average night of sleep lost one to two hours.
During the same period, the percentage of young adults who slept less than seven hours went from 16 percent to 37 percent.
"It's ironic that part of the solution to obesity might lie in sleep, the most sedentary of all human activities.
"In the light of this study's results, my best prescription against obesity in children would be to encourage them to move more and to make sure they get enough sleep," said researcher Angelo Tremblay.