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Insufficient Nighttime Sleep in Early Life Tied to Obesity Risk

Shortened sleep duration in infants, preschoolers may up risk of subsequent obesity, overweight

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Infants and preschool-aged children who do not get sufficient nighttime sleep may be at higher risk of subsequently being overweight or obese, according to a study in the September issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Janice F. Bell, Ph.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues evaluated 1,930 children and adolescents, aged 0 to 13 years, between 1997 (baseline) and 2002, to assess associations between daytime and nighttime sleep duration and later obesity. Short sleep duration was defined as below the 25th percentile of age-normalized sleep scores.

Among younger children at baseline (aged 0 to 4 years), the investigators found that short duration of nighttime sleep was strongly associated with an increased risk of subsequent overweight or obesity (odds ratio, 1.80). Among older children (aged 5 to 13 years), baseline sleep was not associated with subsequent weight status, but contemporaneous sleep was inversely associated with weight status. In both older and younger children, daytime sleep duration at baseline had minimal impact on the risk of subsequently being overweight or obese.

"Insufficient nighttime sleep among infants and preschool-aged children may be a lasting risk factor for subsequent obesity," the authors conclude.

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