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Night owl teens more likely to put on weight

Teenage boy hiding while using a mobile phone

Staying up all night could increase the risk of weight gain in both teenagers and adults, according to a new study by the University of California, Berkeley.

Researchers studied data from over 3,300 teens and noticed a 2.1 increase in body mass index (BMI) for each hour that the participants went to bed later.

Teens in the study reported their bedtimes and sleep hours while researchers calculated their BMI based on their height and weight.

According to the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), obesity and being overweight are the fifth leading risk for global deaths.

Previous studies have suggested that a teenager’s circadian rhythm, their internal body clock, shifts when they transition from childhood to adulthood, which can affect sleep.

Lauren Asarnow, study  leader and doctoral student at UC Berkeley’s Golden Bear Sleep and Mood Research Clinic, says: “These results highlight adolescent bedtimes, not just total sleep time, as a potential target for weight management during the transition to adulthood.”

She also explained that going to bed earlier on a weeknight would “set their weight on a healthier course as they emerge into adulthood.”

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