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Too Little Sleep Leads to Too Much Weight for Kids
Date:4/7/2008

ression later in life. Among 2,076 children studied, the researchers found that those who had sleep problems when they were 4 to 16 years of age scored higher on measures of anxiety, depression and aggressive behavior when they were 18 to 32 years of age.

"The results suggest that children reported to sleep for short periods may be at risk for later difficulties," the authors concluded.

One expert thinks that good sleep behaviors for infants are extremely important and need to be started early.

"We have to pay attention to the very early effects of sleep and health and eating in children. It probably does pave the way for a lifestyle, even in early childhood, that is going to be difficult to steer away from," said Dr. Ann Halbower, medical director of the Pediatric Sleep Disorders Program at Johns Hopkins University Children's Center in Baltimore.

Halbower thinks good sleep behaviors for infants need to be taught to parents before the child is born.

"If I meet with moms while they are pregnant and start discussing sleep behaviors, sleep routines, proper sleep habits and safe sleep for their child, they were much more likely to start that pattern than trying to change a behavior after it had become routine," she said.

More information

To learn more about children and sleep, visit the National Sleep Foundation.



SOURCES: Elsie M. Taveras, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of ambulatory care and prevention, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Ann Halbower, M.D., medical director, Pediatric Sleep Disorders Program, Johns Hopkins University Children's Center, Baltimore; April 2008, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine


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