Childhood Bedtime On Adolescent Obesity

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Obesity is one of the largest growing incidences in today’s society however, your sleep as a child can impact your weight as an adolescent and into adulthood. Many individuals know the importance of eating healthy and exercising, but don’t know as much about the impact that sleep has on the developing child. Understanding what can lead to adolescent obesity is important so individuals can try to minimize the risk of this growing epidemic problem of obesity. Parents need to understand that inadequate sleep in childhood can affect their child’s weight in their adolescent and adulthood life (Lytle, Pasch & Farbakhsh, 2012b). Through looking at research of how sleep patterns and bedtimes can impact a child throughout their development, pediatricians can then provide the best information on what is an appropriate time for a parent’s child to go to bed that will cause the least harmful effect to their child.

Many researchers have been interested in how sleep has effects on later obesity in children however, there has been few studies done on the actual time that children go to bed and the effects this has on later obesity. Lytle et al. (2012b) found that inadequate sleep is a risk factor for early adolescent obesity among middle-school girls and boys. Another study conducted by Noland, Price, Dake and Telljohann (2009), found that students were more likely to report higher stress and were more likely to be overweight if they had fewer hours of sleep compared with students who got adequate hours of sleep. Lastly, a study in Minnesota found that for each 30-minute reduction in sleep there was a slight increase in average BMI and percent body fat (Lytle et al. , 2012a). From these studies we can start to see how sleep can impact our health just as much as eating healthy and making sure we have a physically active lifestyle.

There are many ways that individuals get information that are important to know in our everyday lives. The easiest way for most individuals in the 21st century is through social media sites such as Twitter, FaceBook and online news websites. However, many social media journalists get their information through looking into the academic literature of their topic of interest from the professionals within the topic who researched the evidence. Media journalists take scientific evidence and word it in a way that is understandable to more of the general population instead of written in a way that other researchers would understand.

Summary of Media Article

The media article that was published by CNN in September of 2016 looked at “How an early bedtime can have lasting effects on kids. ” This article focused on getting information out to parents who had younger children, so they know the importance of having a regular bedtime and bedtime routine for their children to reduce their adolescent obesity risk.

This article starts by introducing some of the basic information that researchers have found on bedtime being linked to later obesity. The article states that children who don’t get enough sleep or have a later bedtime are at an increased risk for obesity later in life (Howard, 2016). This is an important statement to be made to capture the interest of parents to continue reading this topic. There is also evidence that suggests that “young children benefit from having a regular bedtime and bedtime routine” (Howard, 2016). These bedtime routines were linked to fewer sleep problems including nighttime awakenings or difficulty falling asleep. Howard (2016), then goes into statistics about what bedtime as the greatest effect on adolescent obesity. It was found of the children who went to bed before 8 p. m. , only 10% of them were obese as teenagers, 16% of children were obese as teenagers if they went to bed between 8 and 9 p. m. , and finally if children went to bed after 9 p. m. there was only 23% that were obese as adolescents. If children have early weekday bedtimes they are half as likely than children who have late bedtimes to be obese as adolescents (Howard, 2016). Continuing with Howard (2016) media article, it than goes on to state that “children who don’t get enough sleep can result in changes in the hormones controlling appetite and metabolism. ” This means that children will tend to eat more and not be able to regulate calorie intake as efficiently as children who do get enough sleep that can control these temptations as their hormones have been secreted more during their sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep this means that you are more likely to stay up in the evening which provides us with “more opportunity for snacking and viewing television commercials that promote snacking” (Howard, 2016).

Howard (2016), then goes into discussing the effects that sleep has on the brain. Some of these benefits include, benefits to a child’s physical health, mental health and their mood because this allows time for restorative sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep you’re impairing the physiological processes that allow for adaptive emotional regulation (Howard, 2016). Howard (2016), goes on to explain that the prefrontal cortex and amygdala are responsible for these emotional regulation processes and that they are sensitive to sleep deprivation. It has also been found that adolescents who go to bed before 10 p. m. are less likely to have suicidal thoughts and suffer from depression. While we sleep, byproducts of the brain’s activity are cleared, and important hormones are secreted (Howard, 2016).

Lastly, Howard (2016) states that bedtime is not as important as the amount of sleep the child is getting each night. Parents need to set age-appropriate bedtimes that allow their child to get the amount of sleep that is needed each night. Setting a regular bedtime and bedtime routine is most important, when looking at the importance of sleep quality and sleep duration (Howard, 2016).

Review of Academic Paper Purpose and hypothesis:

The purpose of the academic literature on “Bedtime in Preschool-Aged Children and Risk for Adolescent Obesity” is to determine if earlier bedtimes in preschool-aged children had an effect on their risk for adolescent obesity compared to preschool-aged children who had later bedtimes and if maternal sensitivity has an impact on the risk reduction (Anderson, Andridge, & Whitaker, 2016). The authors of the academic literature stated no hypothesis for what they expected as their outcome on preschool bedtime effecting adolescent obesity. Methodology: Study design and Participants The researchers for this academic literature used a cohort, longitudinal study. The researchers used data from 977 participants out of 1364 participants in the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (Anderson et al. , 2012). This is because the researchers were unable to obtain height and weight measurements from the participants whose data were not analyzed in the study. Researchers assessed participants at a mean age of 4. 7 years and then again at a mean age of 15 years. Mothers reported their preschool-aged child’s typical weekly bedtime and at a mean age of 15 years, height and weight were measured to assess adolescent obesity (Anderson et al. , 2012).


Anderson et al. , looked at many different variables to assess how bedtime affects adolescent obesity. After the 54-month home visit, researchers conducted a phone follow-up to mothers which asked the open-ended question, “What time does your child go to bed on most weekday evenings? ” Mothers reported bedtimes typically within in the whole, half or quarter hour (Anderson et el. , 2012).

To assess adolescent obesity, Anderson, et al. (2012), measured height and weight in a laboratory setting, with the participants wearing no shoes and only light clothing. Height was measured to the nearest 1/8 inch using wall-mounted stadiometer or measuring stick and weight was measured to the nearest 4 ounces using a balance scale (Anderson et al. , 2012). After calculating the BMI, “adolescent obesity was defined as sex-specific BMI-for-age 95 percentile of the US Centers for Disease Control and prevention growth reference” (Anderson et al. , 2012). To measure maternal sensitivity, Anderson et al. (2012), use the “sum of three 7-point ratings of observed maternal behavior toward the child: supportive presence, respect for autonomy and hostility”. To assess maternal sensitivity, the researchers used “a standardized, video-taped, 15-20 minute, play session conducted in a child development laboratory during the 54-month assessment” (Anderson et al. , 2012). Mothers also reported their household size and income when their child was preschool-aged to determine household income-to-poverty ratio.

Statistical Analysis

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Anderson, et al (2012), used X2 tests to assess how children in the analytic sample differed from children who were excluded because they lacked information on adolescent BMI. Log-binomial regression and Poisson regression with robust variance were used to estimate the relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for adolescent obesity associated with bedtime at preschool age (Anderson, et al. , 2012). Anderson et al. (2012), used logistic regression to access associations between adolescent obesity, late bedtime and sociodemographic characteristics.


It was found that a quarter of all preschool- aged children were in bed before 8 p. m. , half of all preschool-aged children between 8 and 9 p. m. , and another quarter of preschool-aged children go to bed after 9 p. m. Anderson et al. (2012), has found that the earlier bedtime that pre-school ages children have the less likely they are to be at risk for adolescent obesity. The prevalence of adolescent obesity for preschool-aged children is 10% if you went to bed before or at 8 p. m. , 16% if you went to bed between 8 and 9 p. m. and 23% if you went to bed after 9 p. m.

It was found that preschool age children with earlier bedtimes were associated with a lower risk for adolescent obesity (Anderson et al. , 2012). Anderson et al. (2012), found that preschool-aged children had a RR (95% CI) of 0. 48 for adolescent obesity when their bedtime was before 8 p. m. compared to preschool-aged children whose bedtime was after 9 p. m. Preschool aged children whose bedtime was between 8 and 9 p. m. had a RR (95% CI) of 0. 73 for adolescent obesity.

Lastly, it was found that there was no evidence to support that there is a connection between bedtime and maternal sensitivity. Even with maternal sensitivity being irrespective, the prevalence of adolescent obesity was lowest when preschool-aged children had earlier bedtimes compared to higher prevalence with a later bedtime. Discussion: There is much research of other studies that look at sleep duration in youth and their risk of later obesity however none of them accounted for maternal sensitivity. The evidence of how bedtimes in preschool-aged children and maternal sensitivity are related to obesity assessed in adolescence is of great importance to continuing the research within this field of study. Adolescents who had early weekday bedtimes as preschool-aged children were one-half as likely to be obese as adolescents (Anderson et al. , 2012). The study that most closely related to Anderson et al. (2012) research was an analysis of adolescents’ sleep behaviors and perceptions of sleep by Noland et al. (2009). This study looked at 384 students between the grades of nine and twelve who are in general education classes in the Midwest who were randomly selected from three schools. Noland et al. (2009), found that students who received fewer hours of sleep were more likely to report that they were stress and were more likely overweight. Another study conducted by Lytle et al. (2012b), found that in a cross-sectional study of 723 high school participants, females had a positive association between weekday sleep duration and risk of being overweight. They also found that if high school girls sleep patterns differed significantly from the weekday to the weekend they are also at greater risk for being overweight.

A similar study conducted by Lytle et al. (2012a), found that in both female and males, for each 30-minute decrease in sleep duration the more of a slight increase they had for becoming overweight. Each of these studies have been consistent with our findings that sleep does have an impact on our weight and risk for being obese if we don’t get enough sleep and if we vary our sleeping patterns. These findings are important for learning about child development and providing parents with the most accurate information on factors that will allow them to have a healthy child with less risk for obesity later in life. Giving parents accurate information on how bedtimes affect adolescent obesity, they will be able to establish a regular bedtime and bedtime routine for their children. These findings can be applied to pediatrician’s work when providing information to parents. Sleep is just one of the many factors that parents need to be aware about to help reduce their child’s risk for obesity. Some recommendations for future research to further understand the impact sleep on adolescent obesity are providing more information on maternal sensitivity besides observation. This could include questionnaires and self-reported responses. There should be a better way to report children’s bedtimes than a phone interview with a response to a single question. We also should look at other variables that could account for adolescent obesity. Lastly, we should look at whether the child was overweight, and it continued into adolescent or if they were of normal weight in the preschool years and became overweight in adolescents from their childhood bedtimes. Comparison of Media Article to Academic PaperCritique of media article and relevance of research study:

The popular media article on “How an early bedtime can have lasting effects on kids”, is accurate in reporting information from the academic article, “Bedtime in Preschool-Aged Children and Risk for Adolescent Obesity” (Howard, 2016; Anderson et al. , 2012). The media article included all the main findings from the academic article in a way that the general population would be able to read and understand. The evidence from these articles are important for teaching students about the impacts of sleep on children if they are going into the health field, especially if they are planning on working with children and parents. The more health profession students learn and become aware of effects that sleep has on a growing the child, the more likely they can get the information out to parents.

The popular media article and academic literature both capture the importance of preschool bedtimes on the developing child and the effects it can have on their development later in life. There are similarities between the two articles such as stating that earlier bedtimes have a reduced risk for adolescent obesity and later bedtimes provide a greater risk for adolescent obesity. They both include the prevalence at which your risk for adolescent obesity is associated with what preschool bedtime you had and lastly, they both stated that parents should be involved in their child’s bedtime and set a regular bedtime routine. Even with the similarities there are some inconsistences within the papers, first, the academic article doesn’t talk about the effects that sleep has on the brain, hormones released and the effects that sleep deprivation has on brain structures for emotional regulation. The academic article also doesn’t mention the mood benefits of sleep and the different ways that parents can help with improving their child’s bedtime routine and sleep to reduce the risk for adolescent obesity.

In the methods of reporting this information, there were no biases present as Howard (2016) was stating facts that have been found through research and not choosing any sides about if earlier bedtime was more beneficial than later bedtimes. The claims that are made in the popular media article are supported by the evidence found in the academic article. Even though there are differences between the two articles, the media article included all the main and relevant points that the academic article was looking at and wanted to provide information to the general population. Strengths and limitations:

The popular media article had some strengths over the academic literature for getting the information out about the importance of preschool bedtimes and the relationship to adolescent obesity. These strengths include leaving out all the scientific words that researcher and scientists are used to using and putting it into simpler terms that the general population will be able to understand. The media article was able to convey the main points of the academic literature without using all the technological reasonings, equations and number outlooks. The popular media article is more likely to get read by the general population because unless you are a researcher you more than likely will not look to find an academic article that states the facts and statistics on how preschool bedtime will affect adolescent obesity.

Some of the limitations of the media article over the academic literature was that it didn’t talk about the effect of maternal sensitivity on preschool bedtimes. The academic article looked at other factors such as household income, maternal education, maternal obesity and racial-ethnic group whereas the media article just looked at the child itself and the effects sleep and bedtimes have on the child and doesn’t include information about their living conditions. Finally, the media article doesn’t mention how measurements were taken and how the researchers came up with the conclusions they got from their study evidence.

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