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Kids who don't get enough sleep could be at greater risk for developing obesity.

We've made no secret on this blog of the importance of getting enough sleep every night, and the health dangers that a lack of rest can pose to body and brain health. But a new study, published in the recent issue of the online medical journal Pediatrics, has revealed yet another new risk: Obesity.

According to the study, which was conducted at the Mass​achusetts General Hospital for Children, kids who receive consistently less-than-recommended amounts of sleep during infancy and early childhood were at greater risk for developing either obesity or just overall greater body fat by age seven. 

"Our study found convincing evidence that [lack] of sleep across early childhood is an independent and strong risk factor for obesity and adiposity," Elise Taveras, the study's lead author and hospital's chief of General Pediatrics, said in an official statement. "Contrary to some published studies, we did not find a particular 'critical period' for the influence of sleep duration on weight gain. Instead, insufficient sleep at any time in early childhood had adverse effects."

Although more research will be necessary to prove any kind of definitive link between lack of sleep and obesity risk, the study's findings do demonstrate that children who scored the lowest for consistent sleep also reported the highest body fat measurements. Taveras noted that sleep deprivation could be responsible for instilling bad behavior about food consumption and poor decision-making on dietary choices, as well as disrupting hormones that help regulate a healthy relationship between sleep and metabolism.

Be sure to check back with our blog for more news about the science of sleep, and how rest (or lack thereof) can affect your long-term health. In the meantime, click here for information about our selection of sleep support supplements.