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Cardiac wakeup call for Canadian kids
Date:10/25/2010

Montreal − Poor sleep patterns and lack of proper sleep could be threatening thousands of Canadian adolescents with premature heart disease and stroke, warns Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher Dr. Brian McCrindle, a pediatric cardiologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

"Sleep disorders in kids are on the increase. They are marching hand in hand with other increasing cardiovascular risk factors such as overweight and obesity, lack of physical activity, a poor diet, and high levels of unhealthy cholesterol," Dr. McCrindle today told the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2010, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

"Teens who experience more disordered sleep − in terms of duration, quality, and pattern − have a higher body mass index and a correspondingly higher risk of overweight and obesity," says Dr. McCrindle. "This, in turn, can lead to higher levels of cholesterol, another risk factor."

Over 1,600 students in grade 9 (ages 14 to 16) participated in the Healthy Schools screening program run by Heart Niagara. Overall, 22 per cent of students rated their sleep as fairly or very bad. Fourteen per cent of students reported difficulty staying awake during the day one to two times a week. Five per cent reported problems staying awake during the day more than three times a week.

Significant numbers of children are already taking prescription or over-the-counter medications for sleep disorders, says Dr. McCrindle. Seventeen per cent of the students in this study reported regularly taking sleep medication.

The children who participated in the study used a questionnaire to track their overall sleep quality, frequency of sleep disturbances, and their use of sleep medication. Blood pressure, total blood cholesterol, and waist circumference measurement were also recorded.

Studies relate poor sleeping habits or not getting enough sleep with hig
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Contact: Jane-Diane Fraser
jfraser@hsf.ca
613-569-4361 x273
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Source:Eurekalert

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