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Sleep and TV linked to childhood overweight

Watching too much television and not getting enough sleep can increase the odds of children becoming overweight, research shows.

In general, infants slept an average 12.3 hours a day, but those who slept less had a higher body mass index for their age and were more likely to be overweight than others by the age of three.

Children who slept less than 12 hours a day and also watched television had the highest risk of becoming overweight.

Study author Elsie Taveras said: “Our findings lend support to childhood overweight prevention interventions that target both reduction in television viewing and ensuring adequate sleep prevention.”

They suggest that strategies to improve sleep duration among young children may be an important way of preventing childhood obesity.

“Our findings suggest that clinicians and parents may wish to use evidence- based sleep hygiene techniques to improve sleep quality and perhaps increase sleep duration.”