Lack Of Childhood Sleep Is Linked To Obesity

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Increased obesity levels in children and adolescents could be linked to a lack of sleep, it was reported yesterday.

Dr Shahrad Taheri, a researcher at Bristol University, said children and adolescents were sleeping less than they used to, which in turn affected hormone levels that control appetite and energy expenditure. He blamed the reduced sleep periods on increased use of televisions, mobile phones and computers, and said research suggested that most TV viewing by children happened near bedtime, and could disrupt sleep.

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Writing in the Archives of Disease in Childhood from the British Medical Journal, Dr Taheri said that removing the gadgets from children's bedrooms could contribute in the fight against obesity. But parents said that was easier said than done as their children would put up a fight over the issue.

"You can't remove them from the room. I wouldn't even consider it and besides it's impossible because it's what youngsters rely on for entertainment nowadays; the internet, sending text messages on their phones, watching TV," Panayiota Savva said.

The 42-year-old mother said her teenage daughter didn't abuse having the gadgets in her room and said that she saw no reason to remove them if they didn't affect her sleeping pattern. "She goes to sleep at around 10pm and has to be up just before 6am so she knows not to stay up late watching TV. I also go in to check on her," she said.

Agathe Andreou said her 11-year-old son was not as disciplined. "The only reason he is

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