Study Claims that Bedtime Affects Weight

November 5, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. sedentary / ˈsɛd nˌtɛr i / (adj.) – inactive and usually involves sitting for a long time
Example: People whose hobby is to watch television live a sedentary lifestyle.

2. conclusive / kənˈklu sɪv / (adj.) – showing that something is final and true
Example:  The researchers had a conclusive proof that the chemical causes cancer.

3. tuck (somebody) in / ˈtʌk ɪn / (idiom) – to help someone, usually a child, fall asleep by covering him or her with a blanket
Example:  His mother tucks him in every night and tells him a bedtime story. 

4. mitigate / ˈmɪt ɪˌgeɪt / (v.) – to help lessen the effect
Example: Daily exercise can mitigate the risk of obesity.

5. appetite / ˈæp ɪˌtaɪt / (n.) – the desire to eat and drink
Example: I got thinner when I got sick because I lost my appetite 


Read the text below.
A government-funded research has investigated the relationship of bedtime and teenage obesity.

Obesity, or the condition of being extremely overweight, has long been a problem in the United States. More than 10% of high school students across all states are obese. Though obesity rates have recently become stable, they are still much higher than previous generations.

Obesity can be caused by different factors, like family history, overeating, a sedentary lifestyle, or even stress. Obese people are more prone to illnesses like heart disease. As such, the US government conducts programs to address obesity-related health issues.

In a project called the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, researchers followed a thousand children born in 1991 from infancy to adolescence. They recorded bedtimes, height, weight, and even the children’s maternal interaction until the children turned 15. 

Unlike previous studies that investigated the link between obesity and sleep duration, the project focused on children’s bedtime, since this is an aspect that parents can have control over. Findings have shown a link between later bedtimes and higher risk of obesity. After the 15-year period, data revealed that the later children sleep, the higher their risk of becoming obese.

However, the findings were non-conclusive. The researchers said that they cannot conclude that sleeping late will directly lead to obesity. Despite this, the researchers advise mothers to consider tucking their children in early to mitigate the risk.

The researchers have determined several possible causes for this link. First, sleeping late can cause changes in hormones that control metabolism and appetite. In addition, children who sleep late are more prone to TV viewing and snacking.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What possible problems could come with earlier bedtimes? Discuss.
·         Aside from parents, who else has the responsibility of ensuring children’s health? Explain.

Discussion B

·         On a larger scale, what is the impact of having obese citizens?
What initiatives should the US government do to address the problem with obesity?

November 5, 2016