Heart Disease Poor Sleep and Diabetes Risk in Overweight Teens

Heart Disease

In a study published by the Journal of Pediatrics it is stated that poor sleep is a contributing factor to heart disease and diabetes risk among overweight teens. The research showed that most of the teens only slept an average of seven hours a night, as compared to the recommended eight and a half hours. The study also found that two-thirds of participants did not exercise the recommended 60 minutes a day.

To determine whether an overweight teen’s lack of sleep puts them at risk for cardiometabolic risk, the University of Michigan and Baylor University took 37 obese adolescents between the ages of 11 and 17 and studied their sleeping habits as well as their exercise intake. They discovered was that only one in three participants exercised for 60 minutes each day, while most only slept seven hours, and awoke at least once throughout the night. According to the National Sleep Foundation teenagers need between eight and a half and nine and a quarter hours of sleep each night in order to function best. The National Sleep Foundation also listed overeating, and consuming sugary and fat ridden foods as some of the consequences of not receiving the appropriate amount of sleep.

Studies have been done regarding overweight children and risk of heart disease and diabetes, yet there has been no correlation between sleep and overweight teens. What the researchers found was that cardiometabolic risk, a cluster of factors that indicate risk in developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease, in overweight adolescents may be predicted by their sleep patterns. According to Patient there is an explanation as to why lack of sleep may lead to weight gain. When a person does not have enough sleep their leptin levels are low, leptin is the hormone that tells your brain that fat stores are adequate, as well as when to begin burning calories, and when it should create energy for the body to use. The second hormone affected by lack of sleep is ghrelin; ghrelin is the hormone that is released by the stomach to signal hunger. When a person’s ghrelin levels are high hunger kicks in, it is the body’s way of saying it needs food. The body associates tiredness with lack of energy in the body, which is translated as the body needing extra fuel, meaning food. Therefore the body does not register satisfaction, and only signals hunger. Statistics show that 30 percent of teenagers are overweight, this being the largest cause of heart disease and diabetes in teens.

Teenage obesity has become an epidemic with over 30 percent of teenagers falling in the overweight category. Much of this is attributed to sedentary lifestyles that include too much time dedicated to television and video games, and not enough on cardiovascular activities. Lack of sleep is also preventing teens from fitting fitness into their life. The creation of sleep routines is highly recommended along with limiting caffeine and sugar two hours prior to bedtime. Patient recommends weight loss to be a family affair. One of the ways the family can contribute is to listen to the child regarding ideas and preferences when making changes to their meal plans. The creation of sleep routines is also highly recommended in preventing an overweight teenager from developing heart disease and diabetes.

By Dony Lugo

Counsel & Heal
National Sleep Foundation
How Stuff Works
The Journal of Pediatrics

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