STATES CHRONICLE – A recent study suggests that putting your kid to bed earlier may dramatically cut their risk of becoming obese in adolescence.
Preschoolers who went to sleep after 9 p.m. saw their risk of becoming obese double as compared with kids that were tucked into bed before 8 p.m.
Lead author of the study Sarah Anderson and epidemiologist at The Ohio State University College of Public Health recommend parents to establish bedtime routines. Anderson believes that going to sleep at set bedtimes can help children develop better on an emotional, social, and cognitive level.
Childhood obesity has gone rampant in the U.S. in recent years. About 17 percent or nearly 13 million of children and adolescents struggle with obesity, a CDC report shows. Previous research has revealed that childhood obesity forces tomorrow’s adults to constantly struggle with weight gain and other health conditions including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
The latest research was based on data on nearly 1,000 children enrolled in the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, which monitored them from birth through adolescence. All the babies were born healthy, researchers noted.
Study investigators found that preschoolers either went to bed before 8 p.m., between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. or after 9 p.m.
Only 10 percent of those who had the earliest bedtime hours became obese in their teen years. About 23 percent of teens who had gone to bed after 9 p.m. when they were in preschool became obese.
The analysis also revealed that non-white preschoolers, those who lived in a poor family, or those whose mothers were not highly educated were more likely to go to bed after 9 p.m.
Past studies had also found a link between obesity and lack of sleep. One particular study even found an association between late bedtimes and high risk of becoming overweight half a decade later.
The latest study is the first to find a link between late bedtimes and risk of becoming overweight or obese a decade later. Anderson explained that her team was more interested in bedtimes than wake times because bedtimes have a larger influence on sleep duration.
Plus parents have less control over bedtimes as there is no guarantee that the child will fall asleep the moment he was put to bed. Yet, in families that wake up early preschoolers tend to easily follow suit.
The latest study was published this week in The Journal of Pediatrics.
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