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Routine and regular bedtimes may help stave off obesity

A study from the Ohio State University has concluded that regular bedtimes, mealtimes, and limited screen time is related to emotional health and obesity in preschool children. The study has been published in the International Journal of Obesity, and uses data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study. For the research itself, data from 10,955 children was included; this was then combined with reports of routine and self-regulation to make the link with obesity rates. Regular bedtimes, mealtimes and limited screen times were all associated with improved emotional health regulation, children with greater dysregulation were more likely to be obese in later life. Even children who ‘usually’ had a bedtime had much higher rates of emotional dysregulation than those who ‘always’ had a bedtime.

It is hoped that this research will prompt further work into looking at the role of emotional self-regulation in weight gain and how routines can support healthy development. It is important to note that this work does not prove that routines prevent obesity, only that they improve emotion regulation, which in turn has a large effect on obesity.

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