Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

Kids Who Add Sleep Can Subtract Pounds, Study Suggests

MONDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Getting kids to eat less may be as simple as making sure they get a good night's sleep, a new, small study suggests.

That doesn't mean sleep is the answer to the U.S. obesity epidemic, but it might be one part of the solution, according to study author Chantelle Hart, an associate professor of public health at Temple University's Center for Obesity Research and Education in Philadelphia.

The three-week study of 37 children, aged 8 to 11, suggests that increasing sleep could decrease food intake and improve weight regulation in this age group, she said.

Hart said the next step is looking at whether getting more sleep over a longer period might have even more dramatic effect on weight.

"Achieving a good night's sleep during childhood should be explored as an important strategy to enhance prevention and intervention approaches for obesity," she said.

Another expert supports that approach.

"The evidence is incredibly strong and consistent that a short list of lifestyle factors has a phenomenal influence on weight, health and even gene expression," said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Conn.

The list includes physical activity, eating a healthy diet, not smoking, getting enough sleep and reducing stress, he said.

"The power of lifestyle as medicine is not adequately appreciated," Katz said. "As this study shows, the best way to improve diet and weight may be by improving sleep."

The link between sleep and weight was well-known already. "But I am aware of no other study showing as clearly that with a willful change in sleep pattern comes an impressive, concurrent change in appetite, hormonal balance and food intake," Katz said. "How well and how much our kids sleep may well influence how well and how much our kids eat."

In the United States, more than one third of children and teens are overweight or obese, which puts them at risk of serious health problems in adulthood.

For this study, published online Nov. 4 and in the December print issue of the journal Pediatrics, Hart's team started by letting the children sleep their usual amount, about 9.5 hours, for a week. Then they randomly assigned the kids to either boost their time in bed by 1.5 hours or decrease it by 1.5 hours. After a week, the groups swapped sleep routines.

Ten of the children (27 percent) were overweight or obese at the start of the study.

The children who added sleep ate less, an average 134 fewer calories a day, the study found. And they shed about half a pound on average and had lower morning levels of the hormone leptin. Leptin has been tied to appetite regulation.

While adults can get by with eight hours of sleep, children and teens need more, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

School-aged children should sleep 10 to 11 hours a night, while teens need about 9.25 hours of sleep nightly, the sleep foundation says.

Exactly why more shuteye might aid weight control isn't clear. It's possible that after a good night's sleep, children are more active during the day, said Hart, who was at the Miriam Hospital and Alpert Medical School of Brown University when she conducted the study.

She said the researchers are assessing activity changes within the context of this study but don't have final data yet.

Dr. Luis Gonzalez-Mendoza, director of pediatric endocrinology at Miami Children's Hospital in Florida, said trying to pick out all the factors that influence appetite is a very difficult task.

"Appetite is multi-factorial," he said. "I don't think this study was conclusive, but I think they opened the door to look at all these things."

More information

To learn more about childhood obesity, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Chantelle Hart, Ph.D., associate professor, public health, Center for Obesity Research and Education, Temple University, Philadelphia; David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Yale University Prevention Research Center, New Haven, Conn.; Luis Gonzalez-Mendoza, M.D., director, division of pediatric endocrinology, Miami Children's Hospital, Miami; December 2013 Pediatrics, online

Reviewed Date: --

Find a pediatrician
Sleep Medicine Lab
Albert Ho, MD
Michael Strunc, MD
Health Tips
A Chubby Baby Is Not a Sign of Obesity
A Weighty Issue: Childhood Obesity
Boost Your Teen Daughter’s Body Image
Cool Tools to Keep Your Kids From Smoking
Could Your Child Have a Drug Problem?
Diabetes Tops Child Obesity's Health Risks
Do Parents Influence Their Kids’ Health Behaviors?
Growing Up Short or Heavy Can Be Difficult
Guidelines for Raising Smoke-Free Kids
Helping Children Conquer Fear
How Old Is 'Old Enough' for Contacts?
How to Help an Overweight or Obese Child
How to Prevent Childhood Obesity
How to Raise Healthy Eaters
How to Talk About Drugs With Your Kids
If Your Child Needs Treatment for Weight Issues
Keeping Your Cool When Parenting Teens
Kids' Health Concerns Ease with Age
Making Rules for Children Reinforces Love
Making This School Year Your Child's Best Ever
New Parents...Sore Backs
Obese Parents Influence Children's Weight
Parents-to-Be Must Communicate
Paying for Attention: Abuse of Prescription ADHD Drugs Rising on College Campuses
Preparing Your Daughter for Changes
Reading to Kids Helps Their Development
Solving Battles at Mealtime
Talk With Your Kids About These Issues
Talking Sex with Your Teen
Teens and Talk: What's a Parent to Do?
The Metabolic Syndrome Puts Teens at Risk
We Can Head Off Teen Tragedies
What Kids Drink Is Important, Too
When Children Say 'No' to New Foods
When to Call the Doctor for Childhood Illnesses
When Your Child Says, 'I'm Sick'
Sleep: Test Your Knowledge
Diseases & Conditions
AIDS/HIV in Children
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma and Children
Asthma in Children Index
Bicycle, In-Line Skating, Skateboarding Safety--Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates
Bipolar Disorder in Children
Bone Marrow Transplantation in Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Diphtheria in Children
During an Asthma Attack
Ewing Sarcoma
Hepatitis B (HBV) in Children
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Meningitis in Children
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Muscular Dystrophy
Myasthenia Gravis in Children
Obesity in Adolescents
Osteosarcoma in Children
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Poliomyelitis (Polio) in Children
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
Sports Safety for Children
Superficial Injuries Overview
Television and Children
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Heart
The Kidneys
Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn
Vision Overview
Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.