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Getting a full night’s sleep has been identified as one of the crucial elements of avoiding obesity or similarly unhealthy weight gain during the adolescent years, according to the results of a new US study. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia used data from 1390 high school-age children every six months for a period of four years, and found that short sleep duration directly lead to two immediate physical responses in the body – levels of the hormone that controls hunger dramatically increased, while production of the hormone that determines feelings of fullness was lowered. These hormonal responses translate into strong cravings for food, and excessive consumption.
The average sleep length for the test group was just 7.5 hours, significantly shorter than the recommended 10 hours for that age.
Other studies in the investigation found that TV viewing habits and, interestingly, a larger plate size in self-serving dining environments were two of the other key issues that could impact upon a child’s BMI.
The results of the studies were published in the April edition of the journal Pediatrics.
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