Sleep problems can increase obesity risk in kids

16 December 2014

Sleep-related breathing problems and chronic lack of sleep could individually double the risk of a child becoming obese by the time they are 15, a new study suggests.

The research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, which followed nearly 2,000 children who were involved in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), collected data from a questionnaire.

Lack of sleep has become well-recognised as a risk for childhood obesity, according to Dr Karen Bonuck, professor of family and social medicine and lead author on the paper, which was published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

She added that sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), which includes snoring and sleep apnoea, is also a risk factor for obesity but gets less attention. 

"These two risk factors had not been tracked together in children over time to determine their potential for independently influencing weight gain."

Along with her team, Dr Bonuck found that children with the most severe SDB had the greatest risk for obesity, with those who were considered the worst being twice as likely to be obese by seven years old.

Posted by Edward Bartel


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