Children who don't get enough sleep are more likely to become overweight or obese.
Children who don't get enough sleep are more likely to become overweight or obese. iStock

Children who don't get a good kip pile on the kilos

CHILDREN who fail to get enough sleep are 58 per cent more likely to become overweight or obese, a major review found. Those who fell short of snooze guidelines piled on more kilos at all ages from birth to 18.

Researchers warned the weight gain could lead to health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. And they said teachers and medics should remind parents of the importance of a good diet, exercise and sufficient shut-eye.

The boffins from the University of Warwick reviewed data on 75,499 youngsters taken from 42 previous studies.

Each was followed for an average of three years, with sleep duration reported by parents or measured by wearable tech, such as a Fitbit.

Kids were classified as a "short sleeper” or "regular sleeper” according to if they met guidelines laid down by the National Sleep Foundation.

The US organisation suggests infants aged 11 months to four get between 12 and 15 hours of sleep each night. Those aged three to five are advised to get 10 to 13 hours while those 14 to 17 need between eight and 10 hours.

Dr Michelle Miller, who worked on the study, said: "Being overweight can lead to cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, which is also on the increase in children.

"The findings indicate sleep may be an important potentially modifiable risk factor or marker of future obesity.”

She added: "The results showed a consistent relationship across all ages, indicating increased risk is present in both younger and older children. The study reinforces that sleep-deprivation is an important risk factor for obesity, detectable very early on in life.”

Prof Francesco Cappuccio, who also worked on the study, said: "There's a consistent overall prospective association between short sleep and obesity.

"Short sleep precedes the development of obesity in later years.”

This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission.