Teens: Don't Sleep? Expect to Be Fat

It's probably not such a surprise but a new study has found that teens who don't get enough sleep also don't get enough of the right things to eat.

"Well-rested teenagers tend to make more healthful food choices than their sleep-deprived peers," according to a study led by Lauren Hale, PhD, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, as reported by newswise.com.

The real value of this insight?  Doctors may now be able to figure out why sleep deprivation can lead to obesity.

To me, it's pretty obvious.  When at the end of the day, I'm tired and stressed, and starving, I don't reach for an apple, I go straight for the M&Ms.

Not only do sleepy teens on average eat more food that’s bad for them, they also eat less food that is good for them,” said Dr. Hale, speaking about the study results, according to the story at newswise.com .

In the study those teens who said they slept fewer than seven hours per night — a whopping 18 percent of respondents — "were more likely to consume fast food two or more times per week and less likely to eat healthful food such as fruits and vegetables," the story points out.

Again, just common sense.  If you're cramming for exams, buying a dress for the prom and trying to squeeze in time for your boyfriend, chances are you're not going to stop first and broil a chicken.  Sleep will be sacrificed next.

The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends that adolescents get between nine and 10 hours of sleep per night. I have a 12-year-old who gets about five.

The main reason doctors worry about this is that habits formed in adolescence tend to carry over into adulthood, and if you've already established that you don't sleep enough, and are someone who also makes poor food choices, you could be heading straight for obesity, and diabetes, and heart disease, and even cancer.


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