Washington: Increasing the number of hours of sleep adolescents get each night may reduce their likelihood of becoming obese, according to a new study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.Results of the study show that fewer hours of sleep is associated with greater increases in adolescent body mass index (BMI) for participants between 14 and 18-years-old.The findings suggest that increasing sleep duration to 10 hours per day, especially for those in the upper half of the BMI distribution, could help to reduce the prevalence of adolescent obesity. Full results of the study are available online in the latest issue of Pediatrics.Previous studies have shown that a correlation exists between short sleep and obesity, but until now few have been able to rule out other variables such as time spent watching television and being physically active. The new study observed over 1,000 Philadelphia-area high school students from their freshmen through senior high school years. At six month intervals, study participants were asked to report their sleep patterns. At the same intervals heights and weights were reported and BMIs were calculated. Study authors suggest the results could have far-reaching implications and aid in reducing the high levels of adolescent obesity in the United States.
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