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Study: Late bedtimes as children equal higher risk for obesity in teens

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A new study shows that preschoolers with later bedtimes are more likely to be overweight teens.

The study, from Ohio State University, says that just moving a child’s bedtime back one hour doubles that child’s risk of obesity as a teenager.

Researchers charted the size and weight of nearly 1,000 children for 10 years.

They found that for each hour a child stays up later than 8 p.m. their risk for obesity climbed by about six percent in teenage years.

10 percent of kids who went to bed by 8 p.m. were obese as teens.

16 percent were obese who went to bed between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.

And 23 percent were obese who went to bed at 9 p.m. or later.

Dr. Meena Khan says good sleep habits start with consistancy.

“Having the same routine every night so they know what to expect because kids do well the more scheduled, the more routine things are,” Khan said. “They know what to expect. They do better with that than one night they go to bed at eight. One night they got to bed at nine.”

Experts say preschoolers need at least 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night. Getting any less can affect a child’s appetite, weaken their immune system and often leads to poor grades due to fatigue and an inability to concentrate.

Khan also points out that it will take days of good sleep to recover from the lack of sleep, and it’s not possible to bounce back with one good night’s rest.