Sleep-Deprived Kids Pack on the Pounds

Lack of down time correlates with childhood obesity
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2007 10:40 AM CST
3rd graders studied were less likely to become obese by 6th grade if given a generous amount of sleep each night.   (Index Open)
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(Newser) – Kids who get plenty of sleep could be lowering their chances of becoming obese. For each extra hour third-graders in a newly released study spent sleeping, they lowered their chance of becoming obese by sixth grade by 40%. The results could have to do with the effect of sleep on appetite-regulating hormones, but one scientist cautions, "I'm not so sure we have enough information yet on cause and effect."

Another explanation could be that tired kids exercise less, reports the AP. And one sleep expert points out that problems caused by obesity can themselves affect sleep. As always, experts say not to seize on any one factor as a magic bullet. "I don't want parents to think, 'If I get her to sleep, she's not going to be overweight,'" says a researcher.