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Skip sleep, get fat?: Lack of Zzz’s might contribute to childhood obesity

Author James Dunsford
Submitted 03-02-2011

While some parents typically let their children stay up later than usual on the weekends, results of a new study indicate that it may be damaging to their health. A recent study, published in Pediatrics, suggests that lack of sleep on the weekend may be among the leading causes of childhood obesity, Reuters reports.

The research was conducted by the Corner Children's Hospital and the University of Chicago. It focused on the sleeping habits of 300 subjects between the ages of 4 and 10. What scientists found was that obese children slept fewer hours and also had more irregular sleep patterns than kids who are at a healthier weight. Leader of the study, David Gozal, believes lack of sleep likely translates to a propensity to eat more and exercise less.

"Better education of parents and children about getting regular sleep, and not sacrificing it for TV etc, would lead to a healthier society," he told the news source.

According to WebMD.com, while most moms, dads and older kids can get by on eight hours of sleep a night, but for youngsters between the ages of 3 and 6, around 10 to 12 hours a night is ideal.