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New Australian study finds no link between short sleep duration and obesity

08-01-2011 15:56 BJT

SYDNEY, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- A new Australian study has downplayed the links between sleep length and obesity in teenagers, despite separate international studies claiming that the less sleep increases obesity risk in children, local media reported on Monday.

The study, led by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Victoria, looked at the sleep habits of 133 obese adolescents aged 10-16 at a weight management clinic in the United States, according to the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

The participants had their sleep monitored for a week by their parents and a wristwatch-sized device on their arms.

Their weight was measured and each participant was tested for metabolic syndrome.

The researchers found the participants on average slept less than eight hours a night and nearly a quarter had metabolic syndrome.

However, they found no links between shorter sleep duration and more severe obesity, the AAP reported.

The Australian researchers said that based on their findings it was "premature to expect that lengthening sleep will improve BMI ( body mass index)" for obese adolescents.

"We did not find an association between short sleep duration and high BMI within the subpopulation of obese adolescents," they wrote in their study, published in the journal Sleep.

"This contrasts with the widely reported inverse relationship between sleep duration and BMI in pre-adolescent and adolescent non-obese samples," they said.

The study's lead author Dr Valerie Sung said that while getting more sleep could have a number of health benefits for adolescents, it was unlikely to reduce their risk of obesity.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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