Preschool bedtimes 'can affect obesity risk in later life'

15 July 2016

Parents can help to avoid their children becoming obese by implementing a healthy bedtime routine while they are still of preschool age.

This is according to a new study from Ohio State University, which analysed data from 977 children who were part of the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, a project following healthy babies born at ten US sites in 1991.

It was shown that one-quarter of the preschool children were put to bed at 20:00 or earlier, while half went to bed between 20:00 and 21:00, with the remaining quarter sleeping after 21:00.

Only one in ten of the children with the earliest bedtimes were obese when they reached their teenage years, compared to 16 per cent of children with mid-range bedtimes and 23 per cent of those who went to bed latest.

Later bedtimes were more common in children from ethnic minority backgrounds, as well as those whose mothers were less educated and who lived in lower-income households.

Study lead author Sarah Anderson, an associate professor of epidemiology at Ohio State University, said this is "something concrete that families can do to lower their child's risk and it's also likely to have positive benefits on behaviour and on social, emotional and cognitive development".

Posted by Philip Briggs


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