In a fascinating new study by Dr. Janice Bell and others from the University of Washington, they found that babies and children up until age 4 who didn’t sleep enough at night were more likely to be obese five years later than were their better-rested peers.   Those children who slept for less than 10 hours a night were 80% more likely to be obese five years later.

Bell believes that this is actually the first large, nationally representative study that links lack of sleep with childhood obesity.  Their study, in addition, did not find any differences by ethnicity or social status, as have other similar studies in the past.

Pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu said, in response to the study results, that it “gives parents one more reason to prioritize healthy sleeping habits in their young children’s lives.”

Certainly, with obesity on the rise in America and E.R. doctors like Dr. Josyann Abisaab seeing many complications from obesity, this study may be a helpful first step.