Sleep could help cut obesity in toddlers

Getting babies to sleep well at night may halve their risk of obesity as toddlers, research suggests.

Encouraging babies to self-settle when they are tired could prove the key to keeping them slim in their pre-school years, according to a new study.

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Professor Barry Taylor, dean of the Dunedin School of Medicine at the University of Otago in New Zealand, who led the study, said: “A lot of research has shown that a short sleep duration in children is associated with becoming obese, but ours is probably the biggest trial to date showing an effect of a sleep intervention affecting how big children grow.

“It may be that some of the solutions to the obesity epidemic are actually some of the most obvious things like getting more sleep.”