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May 05, 2010

Lack of sleep tends to obesity in teens

A latest study finds that teens might be tempted to stay up late, cramming for an exam or text messaging with friends. But the lack of shut eye could lead to expanding waistlines, particularly for boys.
text msgin for friendsThe researchers say that the results, based on a sample of 723 adolescents, show that the less sleep teens gets the more likely they are to be obese, at least for boys, but not girls. The relationship between less sleep & weight gain was also stronger for middle-school students than for high-school students.
While previous studies have shown a link between little sleep and weight gain, most have focused on either young children or adults – not teens. The current study is also one of the first to take into account other factors that could affect weight gain, such as how much adolescents ate & exercised, & whether they experienced depressive symptoms.
The findings emphasize that sleep is an important part of a healthy teenager's life, said study researcher Leslie A. Lytle of the Center for Child Health, Behavior & Development at Seattle Children's Research Institute.

"We know that our kids need to brush their teeth & wear their seatbelts & be more active," Lytle said. "I think research on sleep is now also showing that sleep is an incredibly important health behavior that has many implications beyond just being tired," said Leslie.

The results were presented today at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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