A new study links a later bedtime with an increased risk of obesity for pre-schoolers.
The study, published in Tuesday’s Journal of Pediatrics, encourages parents to maintain regular bedtime routines for their children.
Researchers found that children who habitually went to sleep late had a wider waist and higher body mass index, or BMI.
Going to bed “late” was defined as after 9 p.m. in this year-long study of 107 children in Sweden.
A commentary on the article suggests the late bedtime is not the only factor in early childhood obesity.
Other important factors may include excess screen time, inadequate exercise and bad general health habits in the family.
Previous research has found that a shorter sleep duration is linked to an increased risk of obesity in childhood.
Researchers do say a consistent bedtime routine for pre-school children appears to be more important overall than an early bedtime.