Young children who do not get enough sleep are at increased risk of becoming overweight, finds new study.
A team of researchers in New Zealand has investigated whether lack of sleep is associated with differences in body composition and the risk of becoming overweight in young children.
They identified 244 children who were taking part in The Family Lifestyle, Activity, Movement and Eating (FLAME) study in Dunedin, New Zealand.
Each child's weight, height, body mass index (BMI), and body composition were measured every six months from 3 to 7 years of age. Sleep habits and physical activity levels were assessed by accelerometry (the children wore a belt carrying a device that monitors body movement) and dietary intake by questionnaire at 3, 4 and 5 years.
All three ages had an average sleep of 11 hours per day.
The results suggested that young children with reduced sleep are at a significantly increased risk of having a higher BMI by age 7, even after controlling for other risk factors that have been implicated in body weight regulation.
The study was published on bmj.com.