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Teens, obesity and links to sleep, TV time and Vitamin D: Healthy Living

Oregonian (Portland, OR)


April 11--Scientists seem to spend a lot of time pondering teens and their weight. Check out a few of the studies making news:

SNOOZE TIME: Parents might want to let junior sleep in.

A new study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and published in the journal Pediatrics, showed that fewer hours of sleep is associated with greater increases in adolescent body mass index among study participants aged 14 to 18. Increasing sleep duration to 10 hours per day, especially for those in the upper half of the BMI distribution, the study suggests, could help to reduce the prevalence of adolescent obesity.

TV TIME: Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have shown that paying attention to TV is strongly associated with higher body mass index, reports. The study, published in next month's issue of Pediatrics but already online, found no association between BMI and attention to video games or computers, despite the duration of use.

VITAMIN D: Vitamin D supplements can help obese children and teens control their blood-sugar levels, which may help them stave off Type 2 diabetes, researchers found in a study involving pre-diabetic obese children and adolescents in the University of Missouri's Adolescent Diabetic Obesity Program.

"For clinicians, the main message from this research is to check the vitamin D status of their obese patients, because they're likely to have insufficient amounts," said Catherine Peterson, associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology. "Adding vitamin D supplements to their diets may be an effective addition to treating obesity and its associated insulin resistance."

The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

-- Katy Muldoon


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