In odd but true news, yet another perk of co-sleeping has been revealed – reduced obesity. According to a new study from Denmark, kids who co-sleep nightly are 70% less likely to be overweight as compared to kids who never sleep with their parents. The study also found that even occasional co-sleeping had benefits, as part-time co-sleepers were 50% less likely to be overweight as compared to total non-co-sleepers.
The study results, which were presented at the 2012 European Congress on Obesity were based on analyzed information regarding 645 children ages 2 to 6 who were already considered predisposed to obesity due to other factors, such as high birth weight, overweight mothers or low income. Although researchers aren’t clear on why the co-sleepers were slimmer, they have some theories, such as kids who co-sleep may have a greater sense of emotional support, whereas children who are not allowed to sleep with their parents may feel rejected, and in turn, negative feelings may increase the risk of obesity. It’s a small and still yet unpublished study, so you have to take it with a grain of salt, but it is interesting to say the least. It also makes sense to a point as past research shows that co-sleeping can indeed lower a child’s stress level, and in turn, stress (pdf) and insecure attachments to parents have both been linked to kids who overeat. At any rate, now you have one more piece of information to give when people bug you about co-sleeping.
Image by Flickr User Mads Boedker