London, Jan 24 (ANI): A Chicago University study has found that kids who are allowed to stay up late at weekends are more likely to be obese.
The study suggested that those who are told to go to bed early on weekend nights get a chance to catch up on the sleep they do not get throughout the week, and tend to be thinner, reports the Telegraph.
Academics monitored 308 children from four to 10 years old, measuring the body mass index (BMI) of each and examining their sleep patterns using wrist movement sensors.
The children averaged eight hours per night throughout the week - less than is recommended - with no significant differences between the fatter and thinner children.
However, at weekends the obese children had shorter and more irregular sleep patterns, found the researchers.
Lack of sleep is believed to lead to increased production of ghrelin, a hormone produced in the stomach, and the reduced release of a hormone called leptin in fat cells.
"Public health campaigns aiming to educate families regarding the benefits of longer and more-regular sleep may lead to decreased obesity and metabolic dysfunction trends for our children," concluded the authors.
The findings were reported in the American journal Pediatrics. (ANI)