Researchers link lack of sleep with obesity
A study tracking children over several
years indicates that lack of sleep at a young age can lead to obesity as they
According to the study, more children who
had less than nine hours of sleep when they were 3 years old, compared with
those who had more than 10 hours, became obese when they reached junior high
and high school.
Among the academics involved in the study
were Michikazu Sekine, an associate professor of public health at the
University of Toyama, and Sadanobu Kagamimori, a professor of public health.
The study was launched in fiscal 1989 and targeted about 10,000 babies
born that year. They discovered that relatively shorter sleep periods contributed to many
of the children becoming obese.
Lack of exercise and an enriched diet are believed to be contributing factors
to obesity in children. In the 1970s, the percentage of obese children was about 3 percent, but the figure has increased to more than 10 percent during and since the 1990s.
The babies in the study were all born in Toyama Prefecture and represented
1 percent of Japan's total that year. The children were assessed every three years until they became high school
The study is regarded as unusual because of
its long duration and has gained attention as the "Toyama study."
The Japan Times: Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008