Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sleep Deprived Teens May Eat More Fatty Foods

Teens who skimp on shut-eye eat more fatty foods, a new study suggests.

In the study, adolescents who slept fewer than eight hours on a weeknight consumed more of their daily calories from fat and fewer calories from carbohydrates than teens who slept eight hours or more.

The findings might explain why previous work has found a link between lack of sleep and obesity in teens. The results also underscore the importance of
sleep for this age group.

"It really adds to the growing body of literature that emphasizes the need for children and teens to get sufficient amounts of sleep every night as one of the key ways to promote health and prevent weight gain," says study researcher Dr.Susan Redline, a professor of medicine in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and
Women's Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Mass.

Redline and her colleagues examined the sleeping and eating habits of 240 teens ages
16 to 19. For five to seven nights, the teens wore a wrist device that measured their sleeping patterns at home. The device, known as a wrist actigraph, detects movement and can detect whether a person is awake or asleep.

The participants were also interviewed about eating habits over a 24-hour period, giving details about what, when and how much was consumed.

Adolescents who slept fewer than eight hoursa night consumed 2.2 percent more calories from fat and 3-percent fewer calories from carbohydrates compared with adolescents who slept eight hours or more. The results held even after the researchers took into account factors that might have influenced the association, including gender, age and race,and body mass index, or BMI, a measure of body fat.

However, the researchers note that their study only shows an association and cannot say for certain whether sleep loss did in fact cause the teens to eat more fatty foods.

Source: September 1, 2010 issue of the journal Sleep.

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