For overweight and obese adolescents, a lack of sleep may be linked to to a higher risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke, Counsel and Heal reported.

In a new study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers worked with a group of 37 teens between ages 11 and 17. They measured participants’ fasting cholesterol and blood sugar, waist circumference, body mass index and blood pressure to determine their cardiometabolic risk score.

Participants also wore physical activity monitors for seven days to track their physical activity and sleep.

The results found that only one-third of participants were physically active for at least one hour a day. Furthermore, most teens only slept for approximately seven hours each night. The National Sleep Foundation recommends children between ages 10 to 17 should sleep for a totally of 8.5 to 9.5 hours per night.

While obese or overweight teens already had a high risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases, researchers found that a lack of sleep elevated this risk even further.

While it’s unclear whether lack of sleep causes cardiometabolic disease or if obesity leads to sleep disturbances,  lead researcher Heidi IglayReger, supervisor of the Physical Activity Laboratory at the Michigan Metabolomics and Obesity Center, concluded that "the strong association between sleep duration and cardiometabolic risk score independent of the effects of body composition and physical activity suggest a potential influence of sleep duration on cardiometabolic health in obese adolescents."

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