Tag Archives: childhood obesity

Sleep Deprivations Connection to Weight Gain, Increased Health Risk and Death


How many of you have a tendency to stay up late and then eat too much before bed time? Do you wake up with little energy and then eat too much throughout the day?  Believe it or not there is a connection between long term sleepless nights, increased weight gain, disease and death.

Many are also unaware how sleep deprivation changes habits and behaviors and mood long term and how that increases other health risks. Most importantly, “the lack of sleep also changes the balance of hormones in your body, especially ghrelin and leptin. [Learn more about sleep deprivation and sleep products by clicking on the image]

Ghrelin spurs you to eat, and leptin tells you when to stop. When you are sleep-deprived, your body creates more ghrelin and less leptin; this leads to more eating, additional calories, and extra weight gain” (Brooks 2014).

“In fact, have you ever experienced a sleepless night followed by a day when no matter what you ate you never felt full or satisfied? If so, then you have experienced the workings of leptin and ghrelin” (Bouchez 2014). [Learn more about Lepin weight loss products Now. Click on the Image]

When you don’t sleep “for whatever reason” your body releases more ghrelin and continues to burn energy and you feel hungry. Instead of sleeping, you’re prone to eat more after diner and snack late into the evening and throughout the next day. During evening hours, especially after 8pm… This is the worse time to eat as the body’s metabolism is at its lowest metabolic burn rate.

Your weight gain nemesis may also be directly related to any number of health, or environmental, or relational conditions and/or situations causing sleepless nights. As such, if not addressed and resolved will lead to a continuance of unhealthy behavioral habits that increase health risk and continued sleepless nights.

People with insomnia often wake repeatedly during the night and don’t feel rested in the morning. Insomnia can cause or worsen fatigue, already a symptom of depression. “Sleep is clearly linked with mental health and insomnia is considered a hallmark of depression” (Tracey 2014). [Click on image for insomnia information]

“For years researchers have known that adults who sleep less than five or six hours a night are at higher risk of being overweight. Among children, sleeping less than 10 hours a night is associated with weight gain. Now a fascinating new study suggests that the link may be even more insidious than previously thought. Losing just a few hours of sleep a few nights in a row can lead to almost immediate weight gain” (Parker-Pope 2013).

“Perhaps the largest study to track the effects of sleep habits on weight gain over a period of time was presented by the American Thoracic Society International Conference in 2006. The study that included nearly 70,000 middle aged women specifically pointed out those women who sleep 5 hours or less per night generally weigh more than women who sleep 7 hours per night” (Menopot 2014).

Within fat cells there is a physiological response to metabolic hormonal imbalances caused by sleepless nights. In other words, studies show us the longer one goes without sleep causes fat cells to malfunction by preventing its release of stored energy. And for those that experience chronic sleep deprivation – the risk of diabetes, circulatory and cardio health risk increases.

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To investigate, Matthew Brady at the University of Chicago and his colleagues tested fat cells taken from the bellies of seven adults after four nights of sleeping up to 8 and a half hours, and then again after four nights on a measly 4 and a half hours. The team found that after sleep deprivation fat cells from the same person were on average 30 per cent less responsive to insulin “a hormone that makes muscle, liver and fat cells take up glucose after a meal.”

“High blood glucose levels are linked to diabetes. Fat cells also normally release the appetite-regulating hormone leptin [tells you when to stop eating]. Brady suggests that if sleep-deprived cells are generally malfunctioning, this mechanism may also be disrupted, affecting weight gain” (Hamzelou 2012). [Click on the Buda to find diabetic treatment information and products]

Outside of environmental stressors and bad habits, there is a serious medical condition known as sleep apnea that causes many to lose sleep because of excessive snoring. Sleep apnea occurs during sleep and when muscle tissue is relaxed at the back of the throat in a way that partially occludes a clear airway. In some cases, as more weighted tissue is involved around the throat area, the structural airway integrity buckles and partially blocks the air passage. This buckling/blockage causes excessive snoring, lessens oxygen to the brain and is a cause of sleep deprivation and weight gain.

Those with sleep apnea repeatedly wake up because of snoring and occluded airway and May, or may not be consciously be aware of the problem. But in almost all cases, those with untreated sleep apnea rarely feel rested and are tired and hungrier throughout the day.

Sleep apnea is serious business because respiratory failure and other health risk have led to death. If you or spouse have a serious snoring problem, or stop breathing intermittently during sleep, or can’t sleep and have a difficult time with weight loss and are now obese, see a physician for referral to a sleep study test.

There is also a neurological condition that is not a mechanical breach or related to an overweight condition. Instead sleep apnea can occur due to the CNS (Central Nervous System) signaling the brain to stop breathing intermittently during sleep. This type of breathing interruption is less understood but can be treated in the same way as a mechanical blockage using a CPAP (Positive Airway Pressure) or dental device that keeps the airway open. Both mechanical and neurological medical conditions can also occur simultaneously. In any event, both can be medically treated.

Sleep Study Tests Will Show the Following Results: While asleep, those with sleep apnea unknowingly experience episodes where they stop breathing. This can occur 5-50 times per hour and up to 300 times during regular sleep. If the non-breathing episodes only last seconds or less, this does not appear to have a significant health risk to the body.  However, if one averages 30 non-breathing episodes per hour on average, and breathing stops for up to 10-second intervals between breaths, health risk increases and damage to the brain and heart may occur.

When we snore and wake up repeatedly, or get little sleep for whatever reason we don’t reap the benefit of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. While under REM our skeletal muscles are deeply relaxed and we dream and our food intake throughout the day is better regulated because our hormones and metabolism is refreshed, energized and balanced optimally.

It is especially important if you suffer from stress, anxiety, obesity, or respiratory disorder that causes sleepless nights, seek medical treatment. Treatment may include: CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), anti-anxiety, depression and/or behavioral therapy with, or without hormonal or other prescription drug treatment. If overweight you may also be tested for diabetes, heart and circulatory, etc., health problems.

Tests and treatment may include a sleep study test and thereafter – prescribed a CPAP, or other medical treatment to keep an open airway during sleep. [Learn more about sleep apnea and associated CPAP products by clicking on the image.

Regardless of what prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep and sustaining healthy body weight and achieving set fitness goals, it is possible to target the problem of your sleep deprivation and weight gain and reverse the course. Leading to improved health, fitness levels and wellbeing.

Works Cited and Article Resources,

Bouchez, Colette. “The Dream Diet: Losing Weight While You Sleep.” Review. Web log post. WebMD. WebMD, LLC., 2014. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Brooks, Dominique W., MD, MBA. “Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain.” LoveToKnow. LoveToKnow Corp., 2014. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Hamzelou, Jessica. “‘Tired’ Fat Cells Might Trigger Obesity.” NewScientist. Reed Business Information Ltd., 15 Oct. 2012. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

Menopot. “Insomnia and Weight Gain.” Insomnia and Weight Gain. Menopot, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Parker-Pope, Tara. “Lost Sleep Can Lead to Weight Gain.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Tracy, Natasha. “Depression and Sleep Disorders.” HealthyPlace. HealthyPlace, 8 Sept. 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Woodard, Marc T. “Defeat Anxiety and Panic Attacks.” Web log post. MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets. MirrorAthlete Inc., 24 Nov. 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Woodard, Marc T. “Sleep Apnea an insidious Angel of Death.” Web log post. MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets. MirrorAthlete Inc., 23 July 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2014-20 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., www.mirrorathlete.org, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

City Recreation Reversing Inactivity Pandemic In Light of Covid-19


Updated: 4/6/2020 by Marc Woodard

Now more than ever people are attracted to walkable cities and community recreation facilities to help melt away body fat and get more fit. Although Covid-19 has currently shut down fitness, community and gym facilities, this has not changed the fact, people looking to move, stay active and get more fit are trending toward places that offer a safe environment and public use recreation amenities as top priorities. Cities with connected trail systems and developed parkways and recreation community centers rank high on the relocation and aging in place decision list.

Outside of Sheltering in place, we’ve learned, parents and active adults (seniors) want these recreation amenities and resources for their children as seen in recent city services surveys and studies. Local and National statistics show there is good reason communities are trending in this direction. Now more so than any other time in history.

“Design of play space for children as well as adults contributes substantially to childhood development and healthy social connections, other activities and well-being.” Dirksen Park Tigard, OR

The National Center for Health Statistics show more than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity (NCHS 2015). Overweight conditions don’t just present a diabetes and heart disease risk for adults. There is also what some consider a near epidemic of childhood obesity cases growing nationwide. “Today, about one in five school-aged children (ages 6-19) has obesity” (Center for Disease and Control 2017).

Another study shows when city urban designers and architects work together to improve human life, “design of urban environments has the potential to contribute substantially to physical activity and reduce the health burden of the global physical inactivity pandemic” (The Lancet, Volume 387, No. 10034, p2207-2217, 28 May 2016).

These statistics and other studies like them are resonating within the communities and elected leadership to help mitigate the national inactivity pandemic – through healthy city building. Whereas healthy lifestyle justice – [regardless of social or economic status] demands more city recreation facilities (amenities) and equal access for all… the public and it’s leadership is listening. Communities are becoming more fit healthy literate and positively influenced in support of increasing recreational amenities and fitness activities for public use and affordable access.

“When cities lack public recreation facilities families look elsewhere for those things…” (Woodard 2017)

As a former Tigard city councilor, I fully support Tigard’s strong vision to become the most walkable community in the Pacific Northwest. I also support their growing city recreation department. I understand how public use recreational amenities, activities and events motivates people to move more, increase fitness levels and improve health… which sustains well-being and keeps community positively connected.

I published an article Recreation Saves Lives and Cities. Within the article I detail how walkable communities and recreational facilities are valued from a public health, social, economic and sustainability city perspective.

These distinctions and importance can’t be emphasized enough especially since active adults now demand more public recreation activities and community gathering facilities for them and their children. “When cities lack public recreation facilities families look elsewhere to find them and even relocate to meet long term child development and active adult needs” (Woodard 2017).

Chehalem Park & Recreation District, Aquatic & Fitness Center, Newberb, OR
Latino Feast, 2017 Tigard OR

Cities that invest in recreation amenity events space with recreational programming are further enriched through social gathering and commerce. It is during these public events community and families bond and new entrepreneur opportunities often culminate into small business. The political, social and economic engagement connections are the lifeblood of every community. And the connected neighborhood trail ways and sidewalks people access to walk and ride bikes, scooters and skateboards, etc., to go to work, play and spend leisurely time is a highly valued recreation amenity. One that connects people to these events, people and commerce through affordable mobility means.

This is where the Latino festivities [above] occurred in 2017. Now 2020, this Rotary Plaza space is built within the Heritage trail system next to the chamber building in Down Town Tigard OR. This place has been reconstructed for events, public rest rooms, events activities-stage and vendor truck electrical power hook ups, etc. Like the .75 mile Heritage Trail system the rotary plaza and events attributes are recreation amenities paid for by the public.

Regardless of social and economic status, everyone benefits by supporting and investing in walkable communities that offer community gathering space, developed parks and community recreation center(s) and other other recreational amenities with affordable public use access.

In ending, there is one recreational activity everyone can participate at no cost to stay fit healthy throughout the year – even when sheltered in place. Like many other cities throughout the state, Tigard OR has no shortage of connected city trail systems.

In my opinion, Tigard is next to none in trail systems that run through our parks and down town area. Virus or no virus… social distancing during walking exercise is pretty easy to do. So do get your walk and biking on. Walking is not a restricted activity within the city of Tigard.

“My favorite recreational activity for exercise is walking along Fanno Creek Regional trail system through Tigard.”

Tigard’s Fanno Creek on the Regional trail system is my favorite place to walk. If you’ve not taken the opportunity to experience it with family or friends, I highly recommend it.

This is a very relaxing and fun way to get your daily exercise and burn calories while taking in nature’s beauty. Along the way be sure to spend a little time Down Town on Tigard Main Street and Heritage trail. Walk to the local shops and support them by grabbing a healthy meal TO-GO.

To learn more about Tigard walking trails, connections and Down Town area visit Tigard walks at http://www.tigard-or.gov/community/tigard_walks.php .

Good Health to You and Your Family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. Is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2017-20 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., www.mirrorathlete.org

City and School Recreation Partnerships


As a result of constrained school and city budgets, more public-to-public partnerships are forming nationally. These partnerships look to share tax paid facilities and land to enhance educational and recreational resources for children. Thereafter parent committees and city board members often look to further expand those opportunities for the good of all.

Several park and recreation departments already embrace partnerships with area schools, but if yours doesn’t, you should consider the benefits. These partnerships are usually easy to acquire as both partners are striving to benefit youth in the community. Once the partnership is established, the opportunities are endless. The largest benefit is the use of school facilities and space, but equipment and supply sharing, free marketing to potential participants and even volunteers from their parent-teacher organization are beneficial aspects. [https://www.nrpa.org/parks-recreation-magazine/2013/november/how-to-form-successful-program-partnerships/]

To learn more about City of Tigard and Metzger School Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA), visit the City of Tigard web page: http://www.tigard-or.gov/helpusbuildit/]

Other public-to-public facility partnerships include indoor priority use arrangements. “There’s a need for recreation programs to be in school buildings and also for our programs to be in city facilities. The agreement gives school programs first priority for school facilities and city programs in city facilities. Both sides are to request facilities in advance to help with scheduling. Wallner said. [Willmar Community Education and Recreation, MN]

Shared indoor facilities is one opportunity while recreation without walls is another. The “cost of land is one of the biggest costs that Columbia Parks and Rec would be facing,” Sessions said. “Those joint projects obviously make a much better opportunity to develop a playground for our students. In addition to that, it often means a park for our community. He said when the district has some land but not the financial means, it can partner with Parks and Rec to make that a reality. [Board of Education Member Jonathan Sessions, Columbia Public Schools District, MO]

When school districts are within city boundaries it makes sense for these two large tax funded organizations to form public-to-public partnerships that expand educational and recreational opportunities. Especially when mental and physical developmental health for children; and shared cost savings justify the partnership.

City Parks & Rec and School District Land Offers Shared Benefits

Once the intergovernmental agreement is consummated in time, it is quickly realized by community leaders an educational outreach and community engagement opportunity occur. There’s no better way to outreach, engage and gather public support for other city and school district priorities than when our children’s needs are put first.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., MirrorAthlete Fit Healthy Lifestyle Consultant, Former Tigard City Councilor. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2019 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete and free monthly newsletter, visit: www.mirrorathlete.org.