New research examining the effect of sleeplessness on weight gain in teenagers over time offers strong evidence that inadequate sleep may increase the risk of obesity.
In the study, researchers at Columbia University and the University of North Carolina pored over health information from the the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health on more than 10,000 Americans ages 16 and 21. In addition, details about individuals' height, weight and sleep habits were collected during home visits in 1995 and 2001. According to a release, results showed:
Nearly one-fifth of the 16-year-olds reported getting less than six hours of sleep. This group was 20 percent more likely to be obese by age 21, compared to their peers who got more than eight hours of sleep. While lack of physical activity and time spent watching television contributed to obesity, they did not account for the relationship between sleeplessness and obesity.
"Lack of sleep in your teenage years can stack the deck against you for obesity later in life," says [Columbia researcher Shakira Suglia, ScD]. "Once you're an obese adult, it is much harder to lose weight and keep it off. And the longer you are obese, the greater your risk for health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer."
"The message for parents is to make sure their teenagers get more than eight hours a night," adds Suglia. "A good night's sleep does more than help them stay alert in school. It helps them grow into healthy adults."
Previously: Want teens to eat healthy? Make sure they get a good night’s sleep, Prolonged fatigue and mood disorders among teens, More evidence linking sleep deprivation and obesity, Study shows link between lack of sleep and obesity in teen boys and Study shows lack of sleep during adolescence may have “lasting consequences” on the brain
Photo by Adrian Sampson
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