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Tired, Hungry and Fat?

by bkhoury on September 15, 2011

This past week we embarked on another family trip. The only direct flight was at a horrifying 6:55 am and it was over three hours. After our last flight I had given up any pretences that my two angels would settle in for a nice nap. The boys are at the age where flying is actually exciting.  Will is especially enamored with the lavatory (but I digress).  When we landed we then had a four hour drive to our destination (a beautiful place in the middle of nowhere where I grew up).  Needless to say, the boys were more than tired.

On the plane the boys chowed down on all the breakfast food I had brought plus the ever-present airplane cookies.  While awaiting the rental car, they snacked on some left over breakfast cereal. On the drive after a quick 45 minute snooze they were back on the snack train.  We stopped at the only gas station for miles, a local 7-eleven for chicken tenders, pretzels and white milk.  When we arrived at our location the boys were offered even more snacks which they greedily consumed. Finally at uncle and auntie’s house, I made a quick vegetable omelet for dinner with some goldfish and apples for dessert.  I never count calories for kids but all in all they must have consumed over 2000 calories a piece.  And the sleep deprivation went on the next few days with family gatherings scheduled right when the boys would normally be settling into a long night’s sleep. 

By the way, I always get exasperated looks from my family… like it is a weakness that my kids go to bed at 7. And I am a terrible mother for not keeping them up to participate in the fun. Unfortunately the people who say this don’t have to deal with the early waking and less than pleasing temperament the next day. 

The unbelievable amount of eating wasn’t because they were offered all this junk food.  It wasn’t because of their fun environment.  It was because they were flat-out exhausted.  They needed the extra caloric intake to keep up the “cuteness”.  I was frankly astonished at the constant eating. And then a little light bulb went off.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 31%,that is nearly one out of three kids, are above the 85% BMI level in this country. I started wondering if the lack of sleep in kids could be one of the contributing factors in obesity rates in this country?  I mean it makes sense to me. In addition to seeing it first hand with the boys, when I get over-tired (pretty much all the time), I am more apt to pick up more snacks and gravitate towards starchy, comfort foods over fruit and vegetables.  Isn’t this why so many of us struggle to get off that baby weight when we are getting less than 4 hours of sleep a night? 

Sure enough there are a number of studies showing a possible link.  I have included just a few of the links below if you would like to read more.  Next time I will try to offer a comforting snuggle with a scheduled nap instead of snacks and more snacks and more snacks!

http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(08)01152-9/abstract

http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/Obesity/22045

  • There is a cirtiacl shortage of informative articles like this.

    By Bryson on October 18, 2011 at 11:42 PM
  • haha well I didn’t exactly buy it xD bubtif you just the basics of it it’s pretty easy it’s when you want to start getting advanced where it gets hard haha

    By Bhoxzs on October 21, 2012 at 11:33 PM
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