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Sleep Deprivation Contributes to Obesity in Children

Banning cell phones, televisions and gadgets from children's bedrooms could boost sleep duration

FRIDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Children who do not sleep enough at night may be at risk for obesity, and banning cell phones, computers and televisions from children's bedrooms could help combat the problem, according to an article published online Oct. 20 in the Archives of Diseases in Childhood.

Shahrad Taheri, M.D., of the University of Bristol in the U.K., reviewed 13 studies linking lack of sleep and obesity in children and adolescents.

The researcher found studies linking short sleep with metabolic changes contributing to obesity and diabetes. These ranged from a 1992 French study of 5-year-olds linking short sleep with obesity to a 2006 Taiwanese study of 13- to 18-year-olds linking sufficient sleep with non-obesity.

Newer studies also show links between sleep and hormones involved in appetite regulation, and sleep deprivation and television watching, computer games, the Internet and cell phone use, Taheri writes.

"While we are waiting for additional supportive data, an obesity prevention approach in children and adolescents that promotes a healthy diet, physical activity and adequate sleep could be adopted," the author writes. "Good sleep could be promoted by removal of gadget distractions from bedrooms and restricting their use, observance of strict bedtimes and other sleep hygiene measures."

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