A new study has found that teenage boys who sleep less, have more body fat as compared to adolescent girls. Researchers in human nutrition at the University of Otago in New Zealand observed that sleep deprivation in teenage boys resulted into more fat but had no discernible effect on the body fat ratios of girls.
Sleeping habits and height/weight/fat ratios in 386 boys and 299 girls aged between 15 and 18-years were drawn from 11 secondary schools around Otago. The results between sleep duration and body composition were found in boys but not in girls, said the lead researcher Dr Paula Skidmore.
An average-sized 16-year-old boy weighing 69.5 kg and measuring 176 cm in height, who slept for eight hours a day, would have a waist circumference that is 1.8 cm bigger, and would have 1.6 kg (9 per cent) more body fat, compared to the same average-sized boy who slept 10 hours a day, the study found.
"The boys who slept eight hours a day would also have 1.8 kg more lean (bone and muscle) mass compared to the boys who slept ten hours, but that's only a 1.4 per cent increase, compared to the 9 per cent increase seen in body fat," Skidmore said.
"Our results suggest that for older teenage boys, making sure that they get adequate sleep may help to maintain a healthier body. It seems to be that, within reason, the more (sleep) the better for boys.
"It was unexpected that we did not find the same result in girls, who may actually be more aware of their diet and more in tune with a healthier lifestyle," she said.
The study was published in Nutrition Journal.
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