July 14, 2006
Research by Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, has found that sleep deprivation is associated with an almost a two-fold increased risk of being obese for both children and adults.
Early results of a study by Professor Francesco Cappuccio of the Warwick Medical School were presented to the International AC21 Research Festival hosted this month by the University of Warwick.
The research reviewed current evidence on more than 28,000 children and 15,000 adults. For both groups Professor Cappuccio found that shorter sleep duration is associated with almost a two-fold increased risk of being obese.
The research also suggests that, over time, those who sleep less have a greater increase in body mass index and waist circumference, as well as a greater chance of becoming obese.
“The ‘epidemic’ of obesity is paralleled by a ‘silent epidemic’ of reduced sleep duration with short sleep duration linked to increased risk of obesity both in adults and in children,” Cappuccio said. “These trends are detectable in adults as well as in children as young as 5 years.”
Professor Cappuccio points out that short sleep duration may lead to obesity through an increase of appetite via hormonal changes caused by the sleep deprivation. However, he says more research is needed to understand the mechanisms by which short sleep is linked to chronic conditions of affluent societies, such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.