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The scientists have found a link between sleep disorder and obesity in teens. But they say, sleep affects teen girls and teen boys differently.
According to the researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand, teenage boys who sleep less have more body fats but lack of sleep has no discernible effect on girls’ body fat ratios.
“Our study suggests that for older teenage boys, making sure that they get adequate sleep may help to maintain a healthier body. It seems to be that, within reason, the more (sleep) the better for boys, “ said Lead researcher Dr Paula Skidmore.
During the study, researchers looked at the sleeping habits and height/weight/fat ratios in 386 boys and 299 girls in the age group 15 and 18-years.
An average-sized 16-year-old boy weighing 69.5 kg and measuring 176 cm in height, who slept for eight hours a day, would have a waist circumference that is 1.8 cm bigger, and would have 1.6 kg (9 percent) more body fat, compared to the same average-sized boy who slept 10 hours a day, the study found.
“The boys who slept eight hours a day would also have 1.8 kg more lean (bone and muscle) mass compared to the boys who slept ten hours, but that’s only a 1.4 percent increase, compared to the 9 percent increase seen in body fat,” Skidmore said.
Elaborating about the findings in the girls, she said, “It was unexpected that we did not find the same result in girls, who may actually be more aware of their diet and more in tune with a healthier lifestyle.”
The study was published in Nutrition Journal.