Skipping Breakfast and Insufficient Sleep Increases Risk of Childhood Obesity

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In a new piece of research, scientists at the University College London have discovered that children who skip breakfast have an increased risk of childhood obesity. Not eating first thing in the morning was a potential factor, as well as insufficient sleep/irregular bedtimes and mothers who smoke during pregnancy.

It’s these three issues together that are noted as being key indicators about a child’s weight. If addressed early enough, excessive weight gain can be curbed.

Researchers analysed data collected from the Millennium Cohort Study, a UK national study that examined children born into 19, 244 families between September 2000 and January 2002. The team analysed BMI (body mass index) at the ages of 3, 5, 7 and 11 years, to see if any trends emerged in relation to weight gain within the first ten years of a child’s life.

Published in UK journal Pediatrics the study shows that skipping breakfast, having an irregular bedtime, and mothers who smoked during pregnancy, were “important predictors” when it came childhood obesity.

“It is well known that children of overweight or obese mothers are more likely to be overweight themselves, probably reflecting the ‘obesogenic’ environment and perhaps a genetic predisposition to gain weight,” said Professor Yvonne Kelly (UCL Epidemiology and Public Health), who led the research.

“This study shows that disrupted routines, exemplified by irregular sleeping patterns and skipping breakfast, could influence weight gain through increased appetite and the consumption of energy-dense foods,” lead researcher Professor Yvonne Kelly said in a press release. “These findings support the need for intervention strategies aimed at multiple spheres of influence on BMI growth.”

Eating and sleeping inconsistently is proven to have an adverse effect on adults, who are also at a greater risk for diabetes and obesity if they don’t have a set regime. Without stricter guidelines, children stand to become another member of a troubling demographic – 71% of people between the age of 17-24 who are too overweight to enlist in the U.S. military.

It doesn’t end there: the US is home to 25% of the world’s obese men, and 20% of the world’s severely obese women. In fact, predictions indicate that by 2025, more than 40% of adults in the US will be obese.

There are steps that can be taken right now to help you and your family lose weight, and in turn boost your energy levels, reduce your chances of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, or even coronary death. And that might not be how you’d think: more and more evidence continues to mount proving how full-fat dairy can reduce diabetes risk, grass-fed proteins can help you lose weight and sleep better and the truth about how sugar is far, far worse for you than fat.

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