Why your child's bedtime IS so important: Preschoolers tucked in by 8pm 'are significantly less likely to be obese teenagers'
- Children who go to bed after 9pm are at double the risk of being obese
- Findings 'reinforce the importance of establishing a bedtime routine'
- 1 in 10 of children who went to bed before 8pm were obese at age of 15
- 16% of children who went to bed between 8 and 9pm were obese as teens
- And 23% of children who went to bed after 9pm were obese at age of 15
For the parents of young children, it often feels like an uphill battle at the end of each day - bedtime.
And while your youngsters may want to drag out the ritual, delaying their retreat to sleep for as long as possible, a new study may have handed parents a new weapon.
For, new research suggests that preschoolers who are regularly tucked up in bed before 8pm are far less likely to become obese as teenagers.
Such is the gravity of the evidence, that delaying the ascent upstairs by just an hour to after 9pm, could double a child's chances of becoming obese.
Lead author and associate professor of epidemiology at The Ohio State University, Dr Sarah Anderson, said the findings 'reinforces the importance of establishing a bedtime routine'
And she said they can do so, safe in the knowledge they are armed with scientifically based advise.
'It's something concrete that families can do to lower their child's risk and it's also likely to have positive benefits on behavior and on social, emotional and cognitive development.'
Excess weight in children is a major health concern in the United States.
Approximately 17 per cent, roughly 12.7 million children and adolescents are obese, according to the latest figures from the CDC.
Obesity can set children up for a lifelong struggle with weight and health complications, including heart disease and diabetes.
Researchers working on the new study, which is published in The Journal of Pediatrics, used data from 977 children, who were part of the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.
The project followed healthy babies born at 10 US sites in 1991.
Dr Anderson and her co-authors divided preschool bedtimes into three categories: 8pm or earlier, between 8pm and 9pm, and after 9pm.
The children were about four-and-a-half years old when their mothers reported their typical weekday, bedtime routine.
The researchers linked preschoolers' bedtimes to obesity when the children were teenagers, at an average age of 15.It (an early bedtime) is something concrete that families can do to lower their child's risk and it's also likely to have positive benefits on behavior and on social, emotional and cognitive developmentDr Sarah Anderson, The Ohio State University
They found a striking difference.
Just one in 10 of the children with the earliest bedtimes were obese as teenagers.
That is compared to 16 per cent of the children who went to bed between 8 and 9pm.
Meanwhile, of the children with the latest bedtimes, after 9pm, 23 per cent were found to be obese by the time they were 15.
Half of the children in the study fell into the middle category, while a quarter had early bedtimes and the remaining quarter went to bed late.
Due to the fact the emotional climate at home can influence bedtime routines, Dr Anderson and her team also examined interactions between mothers and their children during a videotaped playtime.
Scientists call the measurement 'maternal sensitivity', which factors in maternal support, respect for the child's autonomy and lack of hostility.
Regardless of the quality of the maternal-child relationship, there was a strong link between bedtimes and obesity, the researchers found.
But the children who went to bed latest and whose mothers had the lowest sensitivity scores faced the highest obesity risk.
The researchers also found that later bedtimes were more common in children who were not white, whose mthers had less education and who lived in lower-income households.
Previous research has established a relationship between short sleep duration and obesity.
And one study found a correlation between late bedtimes and obesity risk five years later.
This new bedtime study is the first to use data on obesity collected about a decade after the children were in preschool, Dr Anderson said.
Her team's previous research has illustrated the importance of household routines for preschool-aged children and this builds on that work, she said.
Dr Anderson said she and her co-authors focused on bedtimes because they have a greater impact on the duration of sleep than do wake times, over which parents have less control.
When parents and older siblings must get up and out the door early, that often means young children rise early as well.
Putting a child to bed early doesn't guarantee he or she will fall immediately into a deep sleep, Dr Anderson said, but establishing a consistent bedtime routine makes it more likely that children will get the amount of sleep they need to be at their best, she added.
Recommending early bedtimes for young children may help to prevent obesity, and pediatricians are in a position to talk with parents about the importance of sleep for children's overall health.
Pediatricians can also help to address obstacles families may face, she said.
'It's important to recognize that having an early bedtime may be more challenging for some families than for others,' Dr Anderson said.
'Families have many competing demands and there are tradeoffs that get made. For example, if you work late, that can push bedtimes later in the evening.'
The majority of young children are biologically preprogrammed to be ready to fall asleep well before 9 pm, according to previous research.
The study doesn't answer questions about how sleep time intertwines with a variety of other factors that can contribute to weight gain in childhood, including physical activity and nutrition, Dr Anderson said, and that remains an active area of research.链接：http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3689209/Why-child-s-bedtime-important-Preschoolers-tucked-8pm-significantly-likely-obese-teenagers.html