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Teen bedtime and sleeping patterns can influence risk of obesity and poor cardiometabolic health

Study in JAMA Pediatrics with Kaiser Permanente lead author measured evening versus morning preferences and “social jet lag” in more than 800 teens

Adolescent sleep timing preferences and patterns should be considered risk factors for obesity and cardiometabolic health, according to a new study by researchers with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research and Massachusetts General Hospital.

The study, “Chronotype, social jet lag, and cardiometabolic health,” was published today in JAMA Pediatrics.

Lead author Elizabeth Cespedes Feliciano, ScD

Poor quality and short duration of sleep are known to increase obesity and cardiometabolic risk among children. What’s rarely been studied, however, is how sleep timing and teens’ own preferences for when to sleep and engage in other activities can influence their risk of obesity and poor cardiometabolic health.

The research team studied 804 children who were part of Project Viva, a cohort study  that has followed Boston-area mothers and children for over a decade to characterize early-life factors that influence long-term health.

Researchers examined chronotypes (evening versus morning preferences) and “social jet lag” (differences in sleep timing between school and free days) in children 12 to 17 years of age.

Evening chronotypes and greater social jet lag were both associated with obesity. The study also found that girls were more susceptible to the impact of poor sleep patterns on body fatness than boys.

“While the reasons for these differences between girls and boys are not fully understood, they may include biological and sociocultural influences as teens enter puberty,” says lead author Elizabeth C. Feliciano, ScD, ScM, research scientist in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research and formerly with the Harvard Chan School of Public Health.

Read more on the findings here.

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