Washington: A new study has found that insufficient amounts of nighttime sleep among infants and preschool-aged children may be a significant risk factor for developing childhood obesity.
Additionally, napping does not appear to be an adequate substitute for nighttime sleep in terms of preventing obesity.
Using existing national, longitudinal and panel survey data collected for children and adolescents, Janice F. Bell, of the University of Washington, Seattle and Frederick J. Zimmerman, of the University of California, Los Angeles, studied 1,930 children ages 0 to 13 years, with data collected on the same children in 1997 (baseline) and again in 2002 (follow-up).
For the purposes of the study, children were separated into a "younger" group (age 0 to 59 months) and an "older" group (age 60 to 154 months).
The authors found that, "at follow-up, 33 percent of the younger cohort and 36 percent of the older cohort were overweight or obese."
For the younger children, short duration of nighttime sleep at baseline was associated with an increased risk of subsequent overweight or obesity.
In the older age group, baseline sleep was not associated with subsequent weight status, however contemporaneous sleep was associated with increased odds of a shift from normal weight to overweight or from overweight to obesity at follow-up.
The report has been published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.