Sleep tied to Type 2 diabetes risk in children, says study

Children who get more sleep are at lower risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
Children who get more sleep are at lower risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.PHOTO: FREEIMAGES

WASHINGTON (BERNAMA) - Children who get more sleep are at lower risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published on Tuesday (Aug 15) in a US journal, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

For adults, getting too much or not enough sleep both have been linked with adiposity - the amount of body fat in humans - and Type 2 diabetes.

In children, more sleep has been tied to lower levels of obesity, but research about Type 2 diabetes risk factors has been scarce, according to The Journal of Pediatrics.

To explore possible connections, researchers analysed the body measurements, blood sample results and questionnaire data from 4,525 children of multi-ethnic descent, aged nine to 10, in England.

They found that children who slept longer had lower body weight and lower levels of fat mass.

Sleep duration was "also inversely related to insulin, insulin resistance and blood glucose", they said.

"These findings suggest increasing sleep duration could offer a simple approach to reducing levels of body fat and Type 2 diabetes risk from early life," Professor Christopher Owen, who led the research at St George's, University of London, said in a statement.

"Potential benefits associated with increased sleep in childhood may have implications for health in adulthood," Prof Owen said.

The researchers did not find an association between sleep duration and cardiovascular risk factors, including blood lipids and blood pressure.

This lack suggests "that sleep duration does not alter other cardiovascular risks in early life, other than by increased obesity and metabolic risks which, if sustained or accentuated, take the time to accelerate cardiovascular risks".