Sleep and Adolescent Obesity By Craig Schwimmer, MD

May 10, 2013

A new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine looked at the relationship between obesity and sleep duration, and showed that teens who got more sleep had lower rates of obesity. This four year study of 1000 teenagers showed that, particularly for heavier teenagers, more sleep translates into lower body weight.

Extrapolating their results to the general population, the study’s authors suggest that if every American 18 year old increased his sleep time from 8 to 10 hours per night, we could have 500,000 fewer overweight adolescents!

The authors also acknowledged that educating teens about the importance of adequate sleep does not significantly change their sleeping behaviors, and suggest that delaying the start time for high school (so that teens can sleep later in the morning) may be a more effective approach.

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