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New study shows how important it is for young children to go to bed early
If you put your children to bed early every night, you seem to be doing your little ones a great favor for the future. Researchers found that children who are allowed to stay awake until 9 p.m. in preschool age are more likely to suffer from obesity in their late teens. If young children were allowed to stay awake until 9 p.m., their risk of becoming obese as a teenager doubled.
Health experts advise that children aged four or five should go to bed by 8:00 p.m. at the latest to reduce the likelihood of obesity as a teenager. Scientists from Ohio State University College of Public Health found in an investigation that young children increase their risk of obesity as a teenager if they don't go to bed until 9 p.m. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of Pediatrics".
Doctors examine the data of almost 1,000 preschool children
For their investigation, the researchers analyzed the data from a so-called lifestyle study with almost 1,000 preschool children. The doctors watched the test subjects until they reached adolescence.
The risk of obesity increases by 23 percent if children go to bed after 9 p.m.
If children always went to bed at 8:00 p.m., they were less likely to develop obesity. Only one in ten subjects who went to bed before 8 p.m. became obese as a teenager, the experts explain. If the children went to bed between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., the probability increased significantly. 16 percent of those affected later developed obesity as a teenager. If children were put to bed later than 9 p.m., obesity teenagers increased to as much as 23 percent, says study director Professor Sarah Anderson of the Ohio State University College of Public Health.
More and more people around the world are obese
Obesity and obesity are becoming an increasing problem in today's society. So doctors are always looking for new ways and means to get a better grip on this problem. But more and more people worldwide are overweight and obese. This creates many unnecessary additional costs for our health care system.
All subjects were born in 1991 and examined until the age of 15
All of the children who participated in the study were born in 1991. However, the subjects came from different cities and states, the researchers say. The bedtime records were made by the parents of the subjects when the children were four or five years old. Later, at the age of 15, tests were carried out to determine weight as a teenager, the authors add.
Parents need to develop an evening routine
Of course, other factors can also affect the health and weight of the subjects, but there was a clear connection between bedtime and later weight problems as a teenager, the scientists say. For parents, this connection means that it is extremely important to develop an “early bed routine”, explains Professor Anderson.
Being overweight reduces our life expectancy
Families can use simple means to lower their child's risk of obesity. This will then likely have other positive effects on general behavior and especially on social, emotional and cognitive development, the experts explain in the study. Obesity in young people can become a major problem later, leading to diabetes and heart disease. Obesity and being overweight can even reduce our life expectancy. Another recent study has now found that obesity can last up to ten years.
Later working hours of the parents usually shift the sleeping times of the children
The researchers also found in their study that later bedtime was more likely to be associated with low-income households. The problem particularly affected non-white children in America, the researchers say. Families have many competing requirements and there are compromises that sometimes have to be made simply. For example, the parents' late working hours can shift the children's bedtime to later in the evening, the scientists explain. (as)