The English researchers of the Warwick University have observed that there is a connection between lack of sleep in children and adolescents and the risk of obesity. The study, that collects the results of 42 researches and analyzed 75 499 persons, has been published on the Sleep Journal (Miller et al, 2018) and is really very clear.
The participants were divided into two groups, the group of children and adolescents that sleep according to the guide lines and the group of those who have less sleep. In particular, the guide lines say that young children (until 11 months) should get between 12-15 hours of nightly sleep, children from 1 to 2 years should get between 11 and 14 hours of sleep, children from 3 to 5 years 10-13 hours of sleep, children until 13 years should get 9-11 hours of sleep and finally teenagers (14-17 years) should get 8-10 hours of sleep. Children and adolescents were followed up for 3 years and the scientists observed that short sleepers gained more weight and were 58% more likely to become overweight or obese. And this relationship is present both in younger and older children.
According to the scientists, the reason may be an imbalance of hormones that regulate hunger caused by the lack of sleep. Moreover, lack of sleep may lower metabolism and be a risk of developing insulin resistance and diabetes.
This is a very interesting study that gives a proof that a possible factor that can protect from overweight and obesity, sleeping the right hours, is accessible to everybody, is easy and without collateral effects but really powerful.