“Artificial lighting, including light given off by tablets, mobile phones, night lights, and television, means modern children are exposed to more environmental light than any previous generation. This increase in light exposure has paralleled global increases in obesity,” said said one of the researchers Cassandra Pattinson from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia.
Researchers conducted the survey among the children aged between three to five, from six Brisbane childcare centres.
During the study, they collected lot of information regarding children’s sleep, activity and light exposure for a two week period, along with height and weight to calculate their body mass index (BMI), then followed up 12-months later.
As per the initial measurements, the researchers found that moderate intensity light exposure earlier in the day was associated with increased body mass index while children who received their biggest dose of light — outdoors and indoors — in the afternoon were slimmer
At follow-up, children who had more total light exposure at the beginning had higher body mass 12 months later.
“The circadian clock — also known as the internal body clock — is largely driven by our exposure to light and the timing of when that happens. It impacts on sleep patterns, weight gain or loss, hormonal changes and our mood,” Pattinson explained.
This research helped in hinting the fact that exposure to different types of light (both artificial and natural) at different times now needs to be part of the conversation about the weight of children.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.