Past research has shown us that there is a connection between getting enough sleep and maintaining a healthy weight. Now a new study from the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) indicates that how much sleep parents get can affect whether their children will become obese.
Parents of school-age children know their young students will perform better in school if they are well rested. But not getting enough sleep can cause other serious health concerns including unwanted weight gain.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that in 2012, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
From 1980 to 2012, the percentage of children ages 6-11 who were obese jumped from 7 percent to nearly 18 percent. During those same years, the percent of young people ages 12-19 who were obese went up from 5 percent to nearly 21 percent.
Children who are obese can have serious, long-term health complications including risk factors for cardiovascular disease, pre-diabetes, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea and psychological problems such as low self-esteem.
These conditions can carry over into adulthood resulting in hypertension and increased risk of heart attack as well as diabetes which can result in damage to the eyes, kidneys and other organs.
The Harvard School of Public Health explains that sleep deprivation and obesity may be linked by simple behavior changes that result from being tired.
People who are tired are less likely to want to exercise, which decreases the number of calories burned in a day. At the same time, taking in more calories, especially from sugary foods may seem to offset the effects of being tired.
Sleep deprivation is also known to disrupt the balance of hormones that control appetite. This may mean people who don’t get enough sleep are actually hungrier than those who are well rested. At the same time, people who are not sleeping have more waking hours each day when they can eat.