WELLINGTON, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- If your teenage son won't get out of bed in the morning, then take comfort from the fact that he might be sleeping his way to a healthier future, according to a new research from New Zealand.
Researchers in human nutrition at the University of Otago have found that teenage boys who sleep less have more body fat when compared to girls, whose sleep deprivation has no discernible effect on their body fat ratios.
The study of 386 boys and 299 girls aged 15 to 18 found that average-sized 16-year-old boy weighing 69.5 kg and 176 cm tall, who slept for eight hours a day, had a waist size 1.8 cm bigger and 1.6 kg, or 9 percent, more body fat than the average-sized boy who slept 10 hours a day.
"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 10 hours, but that's only a 1.4-percent increase, compared to the 9- percent increase seen in body fat," said lead researcher from the Department of Human Nutrition, Dr. Paula Skidmore.
"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," Skidmore said in a statement Thursday.
"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."
The researchers ruled out the effects of food choice and number of screens, such as televisions, games and consoles, which the teenagers had in their bedrooms.
Overall, 19 percent of the boys in the study and 22 percent of the girls were classified as overweight and 8 percent of the boys and 6 percent of the girls were obeseEnditem