07 December, 2004

Obesity rant #4 of ...

I seem to have skipped #4 somewhere along the way. Therefore, because this seems like it's less an obesity rant and more a science/science reporting rant, we'll let it slip into the #4 slot, no harm, no foul.

Anyway, some study came out in PLoS Medicine recently that poor sleeping habits result in overproduction of the hormone ghrelin and underproduction of the hormone leptin. Both of these basically result in apetite stimulation.

The headline in U.S. News & World Report is "Go to bed!".


The last thing this increasingly sedentary nation needs to be told is to sleep more. Sleep REGULARLY, because it is good for you, and poor sleep habits can mess up your body in hundreds of not-so-subtle ways (in fact, I bet college kids could get away with a lot more drinking and drug-use if they managed to maintain disciplined sleeping habits throughout).

Needless to say, the study does not, in fact, imply that not sleeping makes you fat. It is quite circumspect and notes this is only correlative. The study is hardly robust enough to draw any conclusions about causality. But this ends up in footnotes somewhere. Meanwhile, the many studies that explore the far more obvious link between, say, sugar and obesity get short shrift. I wonder why?

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