How do routines affect our children's weight?
Many parents are familiar with this problem: children still want to stay awake in the evening and go to bed as late as possible. Researchers have now found that irregular bedtime can help children become overweight later in life.
The Ohio State University researchers found that children should go to bed regularly in good time every evening. This reduces the risk of becoming overweight later in life. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "International Journal of Obesity".
Routines affect later weight
For their study, the researchers examined the habits of nearly 11,000 British children, all of whom were born between 2000 and 2002. The experts found a connection between daily routines, emotions and weight. For example, it was found that eating meals at the same time every day and watching less than half an hour of television a day help reduce the risk of obesity later in life, the scientists explain in a press release.
Effects of routine eating, sleeping and watching TV are examined
The current study was the first to examine the potential association between early childhood routines and later overweight or obesity. The study examined the effects of three household routines in three-year-old children, the researchers say. These included regular bedtime, regular meals, and less than an hour in front of the TV each day.
Children with little emotional regulation later suffer from obesity more often
All three routines examined were clearly associated with better emotional self-regulation. This is considered a measure of how easily a child reacts frustrated or overexcited. Children with less emotional regulation were more likely to suffer from obesity later in life, the doctors explain.
Irregular sleeping times for children increase the risk of obesity
The study found that irregular bedtime at school leads to an increased risk of obesity for children aged eleven. We noticed that children who had the most difficulty regulating their emotions at the age of three, more often at the age of eleven, suffered from obesity, explains the author Dr. Sarah Anderson from Ohio State University.
Investigation leads to a better understanding of how routines can work
"The current study enables us to better understand how routines around sleep, meals and television behavior affect the regulation of emotions and behavior," added the expert.
Researchers are finding more and more connections between obesity and poor sleep
Sleep is generally very important for people and sleep is especially important for children. There are many unknown factors on how sleep can affect metabolism, and in recent years, researchers have increasingly found links between obesity and poor sleep. (as)