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Kids Sleeping with Parents Are at Lower Risk for Obesity

May 11th, 2012

kids sleeping with parentsA new study by Dr. Nanna Olsen, MD of Copenhagen University Hospitals in Denmark and her colleagues has revealed something new – children who are allowed to crawl into their parents’ bed at night are less likely to become overweight or obese whereas children who never experienced sleeping with their parents had a higher chance of becoming obese.

This is contrary to what the researchers were expecting. Based on a previous study, children who wake up at night have low sleep quality which was associated with obesity.

According to Dr. Olsen “The results may suggest that elements of parental social support or other types of positive psychosocial responses of being allowed to enter parents’ bed during the night may protect against overweight, whereas types of negative psychosocial responses such as feelings of rejection when not being allowed to enter parents’ bed may lead to overweight.”

The study involved 645 children between the ages of 2 to 6 years old who had the potential of becoming obese because they were born with high birth weight, their parents were overweight before being pregnant or they belong to families with low birth weight.

497 children had complete information including their BMI (Body Mass Index) measurement as well as information whether they were allowed to sleep in their parents’ bed and how often.

The result showed two things:

  1. that kids who were allowed to sleep with their parents at night has a 50% lower chance of becoming obese than those children who don’t sleep with their parents; and
  2. kids sleeping with parents every night had 70% less chance of being overweight than those children who never did.

Some experts however say that the study only showed that sleeping with the parents had an effect on the children’s BMI but it still cannot prove that it is the direct cause. They also said that this study should only be taken as preliminary for now since it has yet to go through a thorough review by other experts in the field.

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