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Good News for Parents and Kids: Sleeping in Might Fight Fat

October 29, 2009

For all of those parents who have tried (often in vain) to teach their kids that sleeping in is unhealthy (disrupted sleep cycles, blah blah blah)…and for all you non-morning people out there – this story is for you!

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported today on a new study out of Hong Kong that found that letting children sleep late on weekends and holidays might help them avoid becoming overweight or obese.

“Researchers in Hong Kong found that children who got less sleep tended to be heavier (as measured by body mass index, or BMI) than children who slept more. But among children who slept less than eight hours a night, those who compensated for their weekday sleep deficit by sleeping late on weekends or holidays were significantly less likely to be overweight or obese.

The study, which confirmed previous research linking sleep deficits to obesity in children, also found that, on average, children slept significantly longer on weekends and holidays than on school weekdays. However, the overweight children tended to get less weekend/holiday sleep than their normal-weight peers.”

The article also reports that researchers urged caution in the interpretation of their findings, acknowledging that “an irregular sleep-wake schedule and insufficient sleep among school-aged children and adolescents has been documented with a variety of serious repercussions, including increased daytime sleepiness, academic difficulties, and mood and behavioral problems.”

For more on children’s sleep problems, visit the Nemours Foundation.

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