The so-called “sleep-weight connection” has more evidence behind it, thanks to new research published in The Journal of Pediatrics. The study “Sleep-Disordered Breathing, Sleep Duration, and Childhood Overweight: A Longitudinal Cohort Study” concluded that “sleep disordered breathing and short sleep duration significantly and independently increase children’s odds of becoming overweight. Findings underscore the potential importance of early identification and remediation of SDB, along with insufficient sleep, as strategies for reducing childhood obesity.”
“The research…found that breathing problems during sleep and insufficient sleep during early childhood are each independently associated with overweight and obesity. “Identifying sleep problems in children may become a useful way of preventing overweight and obesity later in life.”
Children who had the most sleep-disordered breathing symptoms were more likely to be overweight at 7, 10, and 15 years. Children whose SDP was worse at 5 or 6 years of age had 60 to 80% increased odds of overweight obesity at age 15 compared to their restfully-sleeping peers. “Our findings affirm the concept of healthy sleep, broadly conceived, as a foundation for healthy weight throughout childhood and into adulthood,”.