A new study conducted by more than 177,000 students suggests that insufficient sleep duration is associated with an unhealthy way of life among children and adolescents.
The results show that insufficient sleep duration is associated with unhealthy eating habits, such as breakfast skipping (adapted to odds 1.30), fast food consumption (OR 1.35) and regular sweets (OR 1.32). Insufficient sleep duration is also associated with increased screen time (OR 1.26) and overweight / obesity (OR 1.21).
"Approximately 40 percent of students in the study slept less than recommended," said senior author Labros Sidossis, a professor and chairman of the Department of Kinesiology and Health at Rutgers University in Nev Brunswick, Nev. "Insufficient sleeping levels were associated with poor eating habits, increased screen time and obesity in both sexes."
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that children aged 6 to 12 regularly sleep from nine to 12 hours to promote optimal health. Teenagers aged 13 to 18 should sleep for eight to ten hours.
Population data came from a medical examination at a school, which in Greece ended 177,091 children (51 percent of men) aged 8 to 17 years. Eating habits, regular daily and daily weekends, physical activity status and sedentary activities were assessed through electronic questionnaires completed at school. Children who reported that they usually sleep less than nine hours a day, and adolescents who slept less than eight hours a day are classified as not having enough sleep. Measurements of anthropometry and physical fitness were provided by physical education teachers.
A higher proportion of men than women (42.3% versus 37.3%) and children compared with adolescents (42.1% compared to 32.8%) reported insufficient sleep duration. Adolescents with insufficient sleep duration had lower aerobic capacity and physical activity.
"The most striking conclusion was that aerobic fitness was associated with sleep habits," Sidossis said. "In other words, better sleep habits have been associated with better levels of aerobic fitness, and we can speculate that adequate sleep results in higher levels of energy during the day, so sleepy children may be physically active over the course of the day and have higher aerobic capacity. "
The authors noted that the results support intervention development to help students improve sleep times.
"Insufficient sleeping time among children is the prevailing health problem in Western societies," Sidossis said. "Taking into account these epidemiological findings, parents, teachers and health professionals need to promote strategies that emphasize healthy sleeping habits for school children in terms of quality and durability."
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