admin — May 21, 2005, 11:34 pm

TV, Lack of Sleep, & Child Obesity

The Guardian reports how child obesity may be linked to a lack of sleep and watching too much television:

The doctors say that the three-year-old who watches more than eight hours of television a week is at increased risk of obesity. So is the child who sleeps less than ten and a half hours a night.

They continue:

What to many may seem the curious finding about children who do not sleep all night could have a number of explanations, they say. It may be to do with growth hormones, which are secreted when the child is asleep and build up muscle and lean tissue.

But it could equally – or also – be connected with the fact that children who go to bed late tend to snack in the evening, well after their traditional meal time. And there’s a third possibility – that the children who sleep well are those who are tired out from physical exercise.

Television viewing, they say, may increase obesity risk because children tend to eat in front of the TV set, or because the habit of watching the box after meals prevents them from chasing around and burning off the calories.

It is no big secret that sleep helps revitalize the body and helps replenish serotonin levels. If people do not get enough energy replenishment from sleep then they may try to make up for it by overeating to try to get a bit more energy to keep them awake.

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