Childhood obesity linked to sleep woes

Childhood obesity linked to sleep woes

A quarter of the obese children tested displayed sleep disorder patterns.

They also underwent a physical examination by an ear, nose and throat specialist. The children were randomly selected from the community, and none were being treated for sleep problems.

About a quarter of the children had mild or moderate sleep-disordered breathing. Tonsil size was not associated with disordered breathing, and nasal abnormalities were a factor only in mild cases. But waist circumference and body mass index were strong independent risk factors for snoring and other breathing problems during sleep.

This, the authors write in the June issue of the journal Sleep, suggests that the well-known effects of excess weight may be an important factor in sleep-disordered breathing in children, just as they are in adults.

"This is another red flag related to obesity, another reason to be concerned," said Edward O Bixler, a professor of psychiatry at Penn State who led the research. "The metabolic issues in adults associated with obesity are now beginning to be found in younger children."

Parents’ diet has little influence
Parents may try to set an example by eating a healthy diet themselves, but a new study has found that their children are not paying attention.

Researchers studied a nationally representative sample of adults ages 20 to 65 and their children 2 to 18, a total of 2,291 parents and 2,692 children, tracking their eating habits with questionnaires. They found little resemblance between the consumption of total energy, carbohydrates, saturated fats or polyunsaturated fats by children and their parents, although children's diets were slightly more likely to resemble their mothers' than their fathers'. The study was published online in Social Science and Medicine. Level of parental education and socioeconomic status made little difference. Unsurprisingly, the older children were, the more likely they were to differ from their parents.

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