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Evidence emerges that sleep and sports keep kids fit
07.16.2012Simple solutions can encourage youngsters to maintain healthier lifestyles, scientists say. Well-balanced diets won't hurt, but the benefits of rest and exercise shouldn't be understated.
According to statistics provided by the Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, one out of six American children between the ages of 2 and 19 are obese. Many conditions that could require urgent medical care, such as asthma, heart disease, and diabetes can result from obesity.
Though much of the Clinics' research was limited to that state, when compared to data from 1980, today's North Star State kids get 30 to 60 fewer minutes of sleep per night. A study from the Department of Health Services at the UCLA School of Public Health says that 30 to 60 minutes can make the difference between a good night's sleep and following-day weariness.
The UCLA survey kept five-year tabs on the sleep and weight tendencies of nearly 2,000 children who were younger than 13 years old. Children under 4 years old who weren't sleeping enough were 80 percent more likely to become obese. Sleep is needed to produce appetite-managing hormones.
To counteract any insomniac tendencies in youngsters and lessen the chances they'll ever need emergency medicine, the report advised scaling back their computer and TV time. It said bright screens stop the brain from producing enough of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
Other research published in the journal Pediatrics attested that teenagers who participate in three or more sports teams are 39 percent less vulnerable to the obesity issue. The same study showed that if kids don't have time to play on three sports teams, obesity would fall by 22 percent if every teen biked to school, or even walked.
Categories: Health and Wellness
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