Children who don’t have a regular bedtime are at risk of developing obesity, according to new research.


It also found that mothers smoking during pregnancy and children skipping breakfast are also factors in weight gain in later life.


The paper which was published in US journal Pediatrics looked at patterns of body mass index weight development in the first 10 years of a child’s life as well as lifestyle factors in relation to weight gain.



The research is based on a study of children born into 19,244 families in the UK between September 2000 and January 2002 – the Millennium Cohort Study.


Experts took data on the weight and height of the children at age three, five, seven and 10.


"It is well known that children of overweight or obese mothers are more likely to be overweight themselves, probably reflecting the 'obesogenic' environment and perhaps a genetic predisposition to gain weight," said Professor Yvonne Kelly UCL Epidemiology and Public Health, according to News Medical.



"This study shows that disrupted routines, exemplified by irregular sleeping patterns and skipping breakfast, could influence weight gain through increased appetite and the consumption of energy-dense foods.


"These findings support the need for intervention strategies aimed at multiple spheres of influence on BMI growth."


The research also found that sugary drink consumption, fruit intake, TV viewing and sports participation were not strong predictors of unhealthy weight gain.