New Study Finds Link Between Bed Times and Obesity

by on October 20th, 2011 at 7:00 am

Obesity-and-Your-Childs-Bed-TimeA new study conducted by Australian scientists gives new meaning to the old adage “early to bed, early to rise”. The study, which was posted in the journal Sleep, has found a link between overweight children and their bed times.

The researchers followed 2,200 Australians between ages 9 and 16. They compared what time each child went to bed and how many hours he or she was asleep. Researchers found that children who went to bed early and rose early were 1.5 times less likely to become obese, compared with children who went to bed later and woke up later.

It was thought that as long as the children got enough sleep, they would show the same results; however, this was not the case. The children who got the same amount of sleep but went to bed later were less active and more likely to become obese. This shows that it’s not necessarily how much sleep you get; it’s the difference in activity level that appears to change with later bedtimes.

This link could be related to television and video games. Children who went to sleep after 10:40 were 2.9 times more likely to sit in front of the television or play video games. Early risers are more active; there are less prime-time cable and social ties early in the morning, which could explain why early risers are less obese and more active. It is widely accepted that teenagers stay up later; however, this study should serve as warning to parents.

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