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Research: Sleep Deprivation and Poor Dietary Choices

TeenagerFoodChoicesToday’s modern culture provides convenience, comfort, and efficiency.  In one day, an American can buy a cart of any type of groceries they desire, order an item on the Web to be delivered that afternoon, and can video chat with a friend who’s stationed in Afghanistan.

The cost of this heavy activity, according to a Stony Brook University researcher, is your health. Packing in all of these activities in a day could mean less sleep for you.

Obesity in the United States is reaching epidemic proportions and the problem is growing, especially among teens. Here’s a shocking statistic: the rate of obesity in adolescents has tripled in the past three decades.

We know that diet and exercise are the two key contributors to weight gain or loss. However, the third spoke here — sleep — not only drives diet and exercise, but also contributes to a person’s overall well-being. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, American teens should get 9 ¼ hours of sleep nightly. Very few actually do.

A study done by Lauren Hale, an associate professor at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, shows that sleep deprived teens are less likely to make healthy food choices than those who are well-rested. Hale says it’s not just about eating fewer foods that are bad for you; it’s also about eating more of the foods that are good for you.

This connection between sleep duration and food choices in teens is a huge development in the understanding of adult obesity because the habits we form in adolescence strongly impact our behavior as we get older.

Dr. Hale will continue her work with Stony Brook University to procure depth to this breakthrough research with the aim to help reverse our nation’s costly obesity epidemic. That’s encouraging a Healthier New York!

Read more at the Stony Brook School of Medicine website.

 

Written by Hanna Teal

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