What’s the Latest Development?
Adolescent obesity rates would benefit from more adolescent sleep, finds a new study on the subject, with the heaviest individuals benefiting the most. “For a study published last week in Pediatrics, researchers surveyed 1,429 ninth graders, gathering data on height and weight. The children reported their sleep habits on weekdays and weekends to the nearest 15 minutes. The researchers followed the students with interviews every six months over the next four years, updating their data.” Each hour of additional sleep resulted in a reduction of body mass index, the most common metric used to determine obesity.
What’s the Big Idea?
While the study controlled for physical activity, screen time, sex, race and socioeconomic status, researchers gathered no data on caloric intake. While less sleep time may result in more calories being consumed, it is also possible that less sleep discourages physical activity and affects hormones that regulate energy expenditure. “Our data can’t tell you what will happen with an individual child,” said the lead author, Jonathan A. Mitchell, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. “But based on our observational study, we predict that increasing the duration of sleep to 10 hours from eight would lead to a 4 percent reduction in obesity among US children.”
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