Sydney, (IANS) 'Early to bed and early to rise' could be the key to staying lean and more active than night-owls during one's youth, even though both groups may be getting the same amount of sleep, new research says.
The study recorded the bed times and wake times of 2,200 participants, aged nine to 16 years, and compared their weight and use of free time over four days.
Children who went to bed late and got up late were 1.5 times more likely to become obese than those who went to bed early and got up early, reports the journal SLEEP.
Late-night owls were almost twice as likely to be physically inactive and 2.9 times more likely to be glued to TV and computer screens or play video games for more hours than recommended guidelines.
'The children who went to bed late and woke up late, and the children who went to bed early and woke up early got virtually the same amount of sleep in total,' said co-author Carol Maher, postdoctoral fellow with the University of South Australia.
'Scientists have realized in recent years that children who get less sleep tend to do worse on a variety of health outcomes, including the risk of being overweight and obese,' said Maher, according to a South Australia statement.
Mornings are more conducive to physical activity for young people than nights, which offer prime-time TV programming and social networking opportunities, Maher said.
At a time when research is showing that teenagers have a natural tendency to stay up late and wake up late, the results of this study could stand as a warning, Maher said.