Curbing childhood obesity isn't just about regulating food and diet. A new study says kids who follow a regular bedtime schedule and stick to a sleep routine can lower their obesity risk.
Researchers conducted a study on the data among 11,000 British kids born from 2000 to 2002. They looked into their weight, emotional well-being, study habits and daily routines, including bedtime schedules. The experts published their findings in the International Journal of Obesity.
The experts learned only half of the children under 3-years-old followed a regular bedtime schedule or proper mealtimes. They also learned about a fifth of the kids had restricted viewing or video-gaming privileges. Six percent of these kids, on the other hand, developed obesity upon reaching age 11.
Researchers tied sleep routines, mealtimes and screen time exposure to emotional well-being. They observed that kids who were not on a regular schedule had more behavioral issues or emotional struggles, which in turn impacted their weight.
"Routines for preschool-aged children are associated with their healthy development and could reduce the likelihood that these children will be obese," lead study author Dr. Sarah Anderson said, as per Telegraph. The findings emphasized the importance of quality bedtime for children, especially in their formative years.
Anderson advised parents to instill regular bedtime in their kids since it is "unlikely to cause harm," Daily Mail reported. Dr. Anderson also conducted a similar study among 977 preschool kids in the U.S. in 2016.
Her team learned that for children with early bedtimes, only one in 10 developed obesity in their teenage years. Children who went to bed late, however, increased their obesity risks to 16 to 23 percent, as per The Ohio State University press release.
Childhood obesity is a global health problem. If not curbed, millions of children could end up with life-threatening diseases as young adults, thus cutting down the average general lifespan for humans.