As dietitians, during our patient appointments, you can assume we will ask about the foods your child eats, foods they dislike, stooling patterns, and medications/supplements (amongst many other things!). One question that might catch you off guard is “How is your child sleeping?” After all, what does sleep have to do with nutrition?
Sleep habits have been shown to impact obesity among adolescents (and adults!). Specifically, inadequate sleep has been shown to correlate with high BMI, high body fat percentages and increased waist and hip circumferences. In the HELENA study, inadequate sleep for adolescents was defined as less than eight hours per night (as defined by the National Sleep Foundation). In contrast, adolescents that slept longer were found to have significantly lower BMI’s.