A recent research study has been reported on in The Guardian which links childhood obesity to lack of sleep and skipping breakfast. The study was carried out by University College London and it may change the views towards obesity, birth in children and adults. It was found that there were lifestyle differences n children that could have made a difference to their size.
The health records and circumstances of children in over nineteen thousand families were examined between September 2000 and January 2002. It was found that disruption in routines seemed to have an influence on obesity particularly if sleep was disrupted and breakfast was skipped. It was thought that this would lead to an increase in appetite and consumption of high energy foods which have a high amount of calories. Therefore it was a regular bedtime pattern which seemed to help or those children who go to be regularly but do not sleep well. It was also seen that if the child’s mother smoked they were more likely to be overweight or obese as well.
It was concluded that it was not how much children drank in the way of sugary drinks or how much television they watched that showed how overweight or obese they were likely to be. It did confirm previous finding though that if a child has an overweight or obese mother then they are more likley to be overweight themselves. However, whether they were breastfed and how quickly they ere introduced to solid food had no influence.
Something there which we can all take away is the sleep and breakfast routines. Although this study just looked at data form children, the conclusions could be applied to all ages. The fact that not sleeping well or in a good routine led to weight gain could show us adults that perhaps we need to work harder on our sleeping routines if we want to be healthier. It is not always easy, if we work shifts, have young babies or have insomnia. But many people do miss out on sleep because they are too busy, have other things to do or do not think it is important. If this applies to you and you are concerned about your weight, then it could be good to see if you can improve your sleep. This may mean making sure that you go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time, making time to ensure you get enough sleep and finding a way to wind down before you go to bed so that you go to sleep easily when you get there.
Breakfast has been an issue discussed a lot over the years. Some people are just not up for breakfast, some do not have time and others would not go without. Some people fast and miss out on breakfast regularly but others find they do not do that. It can be quite a difficult issue. It can be something that you might want to experiment with. If you do not normally have breakfast, try adding in a healthy breakfast for a few weeks and see if it helps to reduce your snacking or overeating and if it helps you to lose some weight.
To have a healthy breakfast you should look for something that is not too many calories and has a good balance of nutrients. It is wise to avoid sugary cereals but look for something wholegrain and add some fruit and milk. This will give you a good balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates as well as giving you slow release energy and one of your five a day. You can always prepare some muesli the night before and put the milk on it, pop it in the fridge to soak so that it is ready to eat in the morning or put it in a Tupperware to eat on your way or when you get to work. An egg on toast with some tomatoes and mushrooms can be a good option if you have time to cook or even some baked beans on toast. Making your own muesli and granola in big batches is a great way to get a good breakfast without lots of added sugar using nuts, seeds, oats and dried fruit with a spot of date syrup or honey. There are plenty of healthy recipes online too if you are looking for something a bit different and exciting without adding too much sugar into your diet.
Of course, it is worth remembering that although these trends showed that children who were overweight and obese were more likely to have skipped breakfast or to have not slept so well, it does not mean that this will be the case for all children. There are many factors that have an influence on our weight. So if you think that suddenly adding in breakfast or sleeping more will be a miracle obesity cure, it is unlikely to be the case. However, it can be worth trying it to see if it works. It is important for the body to get a good amount of sleep anyway and a good routine can help with this, so it could be wise to sleep well anyway, if you can.
It is also worth thinking about the fact that even though they only picked up on these two lifestyle factors, it may be that those people that do not have sleep routines for their children or check they have breakfast may also be less likely to feed them healthy food, help them to exercise or check their portion sizes. Although this may not be a fair assumption it needs to be considered that there are usually more than one reason to explain something and one factor may just show that there is a more general problem. However, as stated earlier, it is wise to see if you can get a good sleep routine as this can be generally healthier anyway. Breakfast may be a different issue as if you find fasting works well for you with regards to maintaining a healthy weight.