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Teens Who Skimp on Sleep Face Later Obesity Risk

Teens who skimp on sleep could be setting themselves up for obesity just a few years later, a new study suggests.

Researchers from Columbia University and the University of North Carolina found an association between getting fewer than six hours of shut-eye a night at age 16 and having a 20 percent higher risk of obesity by age 21, compared with 16-year-olds who slept more than eight hours a night.

For the study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, researchers examined health information from 10,000 U.S. 16- and 21-year-olds who were part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Researchers collected information on their height and weight in 1995, and then again in 2001.

When the study participants were 16, nearly one-fifth of them got less than six hours of sleep a night. Researchers found that these participants -- both male and female -- had an increased risk of obesity at age 21. "Optimizing sleep duration during adolescence may be an important modifiable intervention for obesity prevalence in older adolescents and young adults," the researchers wrote in the study.

Source: Huffington Post