Sleep deprivation makes teen boys fat

Although eating unhealthy food without getting enough exercise spurs the risk of obesity. Adding more to this popularly known notion, lack of shut eye too amplifies the risk, researchers say.

The study, conducted by the researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand, suggests that getting less sleep results in accumulation of fat in the body, raising the risk of obesity.

The link, however, is quite strong in teenage boys, but not seen in teen girls, researchers highlighted.

The study
For the purpose of the study, the researchers looked at 386 boys and 299 girls aged between 15 and 18-years, all students at 11 secondary schools around Otago.

The researchers measured the height, weight and fat deposits of all participants. The participants were also required to provide details of sleeping habits.

Findings of the study
A significant link between hours slept and body’s fat composition was seen in boys, but not in girls, researchers highlighted.

On average, boys aged 16; weight 69.5 kg; height 176 cm, who got 8 hours of sleep per day had a waist circumference 1.8 cm bigger and body fat 1.6 kg more than boys who slept for 10 hours a day, the study found.

Moreover, boys who got eight hours of shut eye had 1.8 kg more lean mass as against boys who slept for ten hours. But researchers pointed “that’s only a 1.4 percent increase, compared to the 9 percent increase seen in body fat,” study’s lead researcher, Dr Paula Skidmore, from University of Otago in New Zealand said.

“Our results suggest that for older teenage boys, making sure that they get adequate sleep may help to maintain a healthier body. It seems to be that, within reason, the more (sleep) the better for boys, Skidmore averred. But the findings did not hold water for girls. “It was unexpected that we did not find the same result in girls, who may actually be more aware of their diet and more in tune with a healthier lifestyle,” she said.

The findings of the study are reported in the current issue of the Nutrition Journal.

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