Sleep duration may play important role in childhood obesity

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 13 June 2008

Keywords

Citation

(2008), "Sleep duration may play important role in childhood obesity", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 21 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijhcqa.2008.06221dab.011

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:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Sleep duration may play important role in childhood obesity

Article Type: News and views From: International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Volume 21, Issue 4

Keywords: Public healthcare improvement, Chronic disease prevention, Healthcare research

Less sleep can increase a child’s risk of being overweight or obese, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Their analysis of epidemiological studies found that with each additional hour of sleep, the risk of a child being overweight or obese dropped by 9 percent.

“Our analysis of the data shows a clear association between sleep duration and the risk for overweight or obesity in children. The risk declined with more sleep,” said Youfa Wang, MD, PhD, senior author of the study and associate professor with the Bloomberg School’s Center for Human Nutrition. “Desirable sleep behavior may be an important low cost means for preventing childhood obesity and should be considered in future intervention studies. Our findings may also have important implications in societies where children do not have adequate sleep due to the pressure for academic excellence and where the prevalence of obesity is rising, such as in many East Asian countries.”

“The influence of sleep quality on obesity risk is another important area where future research is needed,” added Xiaoli Chen, MD, PhD, the study’s lead author and a former postdoctoral fellow at the Bloomberg School.

For the study, Wang, Chen and colleague May A. Beydoun, also a postdoctoral fellow at the Bloomberg School, reviewed 17 published studies on sleep duration and childhood obesity and they analyzed 11 of them in their meta-analysis.

The recommended amount of daily sleep varied between studies analyzed and with children’s age. Some research suggests that children under age five should sleep for 11 hours or more per day, children age five to ten should sleep for ten hours or more per day, and children over age ten should sleep at least nine hours per day. The Hopkins researchers used these suggestions for their analysis.

The results of the analysis showed that children with the shortest sleep duration had a 92 percent higher risk of being overweight or obese compared to children with longer sleep duration. For children under five, shortest sleep duration meant less than nine hours of sleep per day. For children ages five to ten it meant less than eight hours of sleep per day and less than seven hours of sleep per day for children over ten. The association between increased sleep and reduced obesity risk was strongly associated with boys, but not in girls.

For more information: www.jhsph.edu