Preschoolers and Sleep

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A recent study has found that sleep may influence a preschoolers body weight as much or more than both diet and physical activity. Dr. Edward Hill takes a closer look at the report in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

How much sleep a child gets may affect his or her weight and his or her body fat.

A study published by the British Medical Journal found that preschoolers who sleep less are more likely to be overweight or obese by the time theyre 7 years old, even when diet and other lifestyle factors are taken into account. And most of that added weight is stored fat, not muscle.

For the study, researchers followed 244 children from ages 3 through 7, regularly checking their sleep time, physical activity, diet, body mass and fat distribution.

Researchers found that children slept an average of about 11 hours daily. Each additional hour of daily sleep children logged from age 3 to age 5 was associated with about a half-point drop in the kids body mass index by age 7.

Children at the low end of the sleep scale had more body fat than children who got more sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, children need between 11 and 13 hours of sleep for kids ages 3 to 5.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.