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People who get less than six hours of sleep at night may face a high risk of becoming obese, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Human Biology. The researchers said the situation may make individuals more likely to receive positive lab tests for diabetes and other chronic health conditions.
The findings could partially explain the dramatic rise in obesity and diabetes rates that has occurred over the last few years. The researchers pointed out that upwards of 18 percent of adults sleep less than six hours each night, indicating that many people are at risk for metabolic complications.
For the study, a team of researchers from the University of Chicago looked at evidence from earlier studies that examined the possible link between poor sleep habits and diabetes. They found that individuals who slept less than six hours each night were the most likely to be obese.
"These findings show that sleeping poorly can increase a person's risk of developing obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease," said Kristen Knutson, who led the investigation.
She added that it may be possible to address high rates of sleep problems, as factors that contribute to sleeping difficulty are typically modifiable.
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