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According to The Los Angeles Times if you hate enforcing bedtime with your kids, here’s another good reason why you should. A new study suggests that younger children who get more regular sleep are less likely to be obese.

The study from researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Louisville looked at 308 children from 4 to 10 years old. They tracked the kids’ sleep time for a week via wrist monitors and calculated their body mass index, a standard measurement based on weight and height. The researchers also did blood work to measure glucose and insulin levels in some children.

Some of the findings:

Regardless of their weight, children slept on average eight hours a night. (The National Institutes of Health recommend nine hours a night.)

Children could “catch up” if they missed out by sleeping more over the weekend.

Obese children got less sleep and experienced “a mixed sleep pattern.”

“Children whose sleep patterns were at the lower end of sleep duration particularly in the presence of irregular sleep schedules, exhibited the greatest health risk,” the study’s abstract says. The study will  be published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Dr. O’Toole encourages parents not to overlook the possibility of breast reduction surgery for both male and females who are in late adolescence and are obese. For young men gynecomastia or excessive male breast tissue can be very embarrassing and restrict a young man from exercising in gym class as a result of embarrassment. Breast reduction surgery for young women can alleviate pain in the shoulders back pain as well as numbness in the fingers. Many times these young girls do not exercise because it is painful. Obesity in children continues to be a hot topic in 2011.

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