Lack Of Sleep, Skipping Breakfast May Cause Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is a big problem in a lot of countries.  While pregnancy smoking habits of a mother plays a key role in a child's weight, researchers say that your child's lifestyle, like eating breakfast and getting enough sleep, could also predict if your child will be obese. 

A team of researchers from the University College London (UCL) conducted a study which is first in the UK.  They looked at patterns of body mass index (BMI) weight in the first 10 years of a child's life, and which lifestyle factors appear to affect and predict weight gain.  They used data from Millennium Cohort Study, a study of children born into 19,244 families in the UK between September 2000 and January 2002.  Data on the children's weight and height was collected at ages 3, 5, 7 and 11.

Child's Irregular Sleep Pattern And Skipping Breakfast Could Lead To Weight Gain

The result of the study shows that kids who have an irregular bedtime or who don't have sufficient amount of sleep and who skips breakfast would likely become overweight.  Professor Yvonne Kelly from UCL said: "It is well known that children of overweight or obese mothers are more likely to be overweight themselves, probably reflecting the 'obesogenic' environment and perhaps a genetic predisposition to gain weight.  This study shows that disrupted routines exemplified by irregular sleeping patterns and skipping breakfast, could influence weight gain through increased appetite and the consumption of energy-dense foods."

Breastfeeding Is Not Associated With Child's Weight

The researchers looked at predictors of weight gain and were surprised that introducing solid food at an early age and breastfeeding were not associated with children's weight, and sugary drink consumption, fruit intake, TV viewing and sports participation were also not strong predictors.  "These findings support the need for intervention strategies aimed at multiple spheres of influence on BMI growth," said Kelly.

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