London: Parents, please note -- sending your children to bed early may stop them from putting on weight and thus help them stay slim, says a new study.
Researchers recorded the bed and waking times of 2,200 youngsters, aged nine to 16, and found that those who went to bed late and got up later were 1.5 times more likely to become obese than early risers, the `Daily Express` reported.
Night-owl children are almost twice as likely to be physically inactive and 2.9 times more inclined to spend hours in front of a TV or computer, according to the study.
"The children who went to bed late and woke up late and the children who went to bed early and woke up early got virtually the same amount of sleep in total," lead author Dr
Carol Maher at the University of South Australia said.
She added: "Scientists have realised in recent years that children who get less sleep tend to do worse on a variety of health outcomes. Our study suggests that the timing of sleep
is even more important."
The findings have been published in the `Sleep` journal.