Early bedtime for preschoolers could lower the risk of obesity in adolescence. The conclusion is part of the research performed by the Ohio College of Public Health.
As scientists discovered, preschoolers that went to bed with just one hour later were found to be at risk of having weight problems in adolescence.
The research involved 1,000 children that were born in 1991, coming from 10 different US locations.
The study followed three groups of preschoolers, one that went to bed before 8 PM, a second one who had a one-hour delayed bedtime, and a third one that went to bed after 9 PM.
The three groups were monitored just until adolescence when the researchers went back to the events line and analyzed the connection between bedtime and obesity risk.
The bedtime routine was observed starting at the age of four. Out of the total number of children, half of them had bedtimes in the 8-9 PM interval, and half was equally distributed in the other two groups, with early bedtime and late bedtime.
The researchers then looked at what was happening at the age of 15 regarding the weight of the now adolescent participants in the study.
The results showed that children with early bedtime had only a 10% risk of becoming obese in their adolescence. The risk increased to 16% for children that went to bed one hour later. As it was expected, kids that slept after 9 PM had a 23% obesity risk, the highest of them all.
However, it is interesting that even a bedtime with just one hour delay could produce such a significant increase in obesity risk. The results can only reinforce the importance of having a correct sleep routine in children’s development, especially at early ages.
Later bedtimes were observed in families with a lower income, between mothers that were less educated and among non-white children.
On the other hand, obesity was also linked with a depreciated mother-child relationship, where mothers were generally behaving in a hostile manner towards their kid.
The study analyzes the correlation between a late bedtime and obesity in adolescence. The factors that lead to weight problems are complex, and the scientists cannot demonstrate a straight causality between bedtime and obesity. However, the research shows that the risks in children with late bedtime are significant.
The authors conclude by saying that parents need to introduce a bedtime routine for their children. Establishing a correct and constant bedtime hour is one the most concrete things a parent could do for their children. It involves no significant effort on their part, either financial or material, but only care and discipline.
Other benefits of early bedtime include improved cognitive performance and emotional balance, which both lead to social achievements.
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