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Kids' weekend sleep can prevent obesity.

Giving children the opportunity to sleep in on weekends and holidays could prevent weight gain, according to a study in the February issue of Pediatrics.

Researchers monitored the sleep patterns and body mass index of about 300 children ages 4-10 for one week. Regardless of weight, the children averaged eight hours of sleep nightly, which is significantly lower than current recommendations. And the study found that while obese children did not have radically different school day sleep schedules, their sleep duration was shorter and more irregular on weekends.

Obese children also were less likely to get "catch-up" sleep on weekends, and the combination of less sleep and more variable sleep patterns was linked to a slower metabolism. The study's authors said public health campaigns that promote longer and more regular sleep could help improve metabolic function and help children maintain a healthy body weight.
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Title Annotation:HEALTH FINDINGS: The latest public health studies and research
Author:Currie, Donya
Publication:The Nation's Health
Date:Mar 1, 2011
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