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Parent and child must get enough sleep to protect against child obesity
Date:6/9/2014

overweight for 337 preschool children and their parents. The routines assessed in parents included adequate sleep (over seven hours) and family mealtime routine. The four protective routines assessed in children were adequate sleep (10 or more hours per night), family mealtime routine, limiting screen-viewing time to less than two hours a day, and not having a bedroom TV.

The only significant individual protective factor against obesity or overweight in children was getting adequate sleep. Children who did not get enough sleep had a greater risk for being overweight than children who engaged in at least three of the protective routines regularly, even after controlling for parents' BMI and socio-demographic characteristics, Fiese said.

But the researchers also learned that the number of hours a parent sleeps is related to how much sleep children are getting, so that a parent's sleep has an effect on the likelihood that their children will be overweight or obese.

"We viewed how long parents slept and how long children slept as part of a household routine and found that they really did go together," she said.

In an earlier study, Fiese followed families for a year and was surprised when parents reported that their five- to seven-year-old children were going to bed as late as 11 p.m. When she looked deeper into the reason for these late bedtimes, she found that parents who worked late into the evening viewed those late-night hours with their children as a special time.

"They described cuddling on the couch, watching television, and the child falling asleep in his parent's arms at 10 or 11 p.m. and being carried to bed. You can understand how it happens, but that's too late for a child who has to get up and go to school the next day," she noted.

She noted that inadequate sleep is not just a problem for preschoolers but for elementary school children and high school students whose brains are still developing. Adult
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Contact: Phyllis Picklesimer
p-pickle@illinois.edu
217-244-2827
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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