Michelle A. Miller
Infants, children and adolescents who regularly get less than the recommended amount of sleep for their age group are more likely to develop overweight or obesity than those who meet sleep guidelines, according to study results published in Sleep.
“Being overweight can lead to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, which is also on the increase in children,” Michelle A. Miller, BSc, PhD, MAcadMEd, FFPH, FAHA, FBHS, associate professor and reader of biochemical medicine at Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom, told Endocrine Today. “The findings of this study indicate that sleep may be an important, potentially modifiable risk factor (or marker) of future obesity. It highlights the need for a greater awareness of the importance of adequate sleep in children both for parents and for medical practitioners.”
Researchers conducted a systematic review of 42 prospective cohort studies consisting of 75,499 children aged 18 years or younger that demonstrated a longitudinal association between sleep duration and overweight, obesity and BMI. All studies took place between 1966 and 2017. Researchers categorized children into four subgroups: infants (aged < 3 years), early childhood (aged 3-8 years), middle childhood (aged 9-11 years) and adolescents (aged 12-18 years). Data was extracted from each study where children had been classified as short sleepers compared with the reference group for that study. Obesity was defined as BMI greater than 30 kg/m2.
After adjusting for potential confounders, the combined estimate showed that short sleep was associated with a 58% greater risk of developing overweight or obesity. In addition, for every hour of increase in sleep, BMI decreased (mean difference, –0.03 kg/m2; P = .001).
These results demonstrate a consistent relationship between sleep duration and risk for obesity across all ages, according to Miller.
“The study also reinforces the concept that sleep deprivation is an important risk factor for obesity, detectable very early on in life,” Miller said in a press release. – by Melissa J. Webb
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Michelle A. Miller, BSc, PhD, MAcadMEd, FFPH, FAHA, FBHS, can be reached at email@example.com.
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.