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Lack of early childhood sleep linked to childhood obesity

Posted on Sep 10, 2010 by Maggie LaBarbera

Is your infant or preschool child getting enough sleep?  A new study shows that lack of sleep can be a significant factor in childhood obesity.

A new study released in September issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine studied 1930 children ages 0-13 years.  The researchers found that over 30% of the children were obese or overweight and there was a correlation with sleep habits.

  • Insufficient nighttime sleep among infants and preschool-aged children appears to be a lasting risk factor for childhood obesity
  • Napping had no effects on the development of obesity and is not a substitute for sufficient nighttime sleep.

This is not the only study implying there is a connection with younger children sleep habits and weight gain.

So how much sleep does your child need each night.  And remember, this is straight nighttime sleep, naps during the day does not seem to be a good substitute for a good night's rest.  This might surprise you!

1-4 Weeks Old: 15 - 16 hours per day

1-4 Months Old: 14 - 15 hours per day

1-3 Years Old: 12 - 14 hours per day

4-12 Months Old: 14 - 15 hours per day

3-6 Years Old: 10 - 12 hours per day

7-12 Years Old: 10 - 11 hours per day

12-18 Years Old: 8 - 9 hours per day

(source for recommended hours:  WebMD)

Resources for


Why You Should Not Put Your Child on a Fad Diet

Helping Your Overweight Child- Support and Resources for Parents

Health implications of childhood obesity

Setting healthy goals as a family







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