Teens who don't sleep well have higher obesity risk

Teens who get less than six hours of sleep a night are 20 percent more likely to be obese by age 21, according to new research from Columbia University and the University of North Carolina.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from more than 10,000 American teens and young adults, ages 16 and 21, as part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. They collected information on height, weight and sleep during home visits in 1995 and 2001.

Th scientists found that nearly one-fifth of the 16-year-olds reported getting fewer than six hours of sleep. This group was 20 percent more likely to be obese by age 21, compared to teens who got more than eight hours of sleep. Lack of physical activity and time spent watching television contributed to obesity, but did not account for the relationship between sleeplessness and obesity, according to researchers.

Daytime sleepiness and fatigue have also been shown to affect food choices and that can skew appetites towards unhealthy foods.

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Sourced from: ScienceDaily, Teen sleeplessness piles on risk for obesity