Scientists at Ohio State University have found another good reason to send preschoolers to bed early: It reduces their chances of becoming overweight teen-agers.
A study performed by OSU's College of Public Health and published in the July issue of The Journal of Pediatrics examined whether preschool-aged children with earlier bedtimes have a lower risk for adolescent obesity. According to the results, those with early weekday bedtimes were half as likely as children who went to bed late to be obese as adolescents. Bedtimes after 9 p.m. appeared to double the risk, the study said.
Researchers linked preschoolers' bedtimes to their weight in later years, at an average age of 15. They found a striking difference: Only 10 percent of the children with the earliest bedtimes were obese teens, compared with 16 percent of children with mid-range bedtimes and 23 percent of those who went to bed latest.
The study adds to earlier research that links good sleep habits to overall health. Physicians have long maintained that children need quality sleep in order to grow and develop properly. Studies have found children who sleep more have longer attention spans, behave better and perform better on intelligence tests, according to WebMD.
To read the study, go to jpeds.com/article/s0022-3476(16)30361-4/abstract.
-Melissa Kossler Dutton