Early bedtimes for young kids,according to a recent study, decreases the risk of obesity later in life.

About 17% of American children are obese. And obesity in childhood greatly increases the chance of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.

In the study it was found that 4 year olds who went to bed before 8 PM at night had only a one in 10 risk of being obese at age 15.

In contrast, if the four-year-old went to bed between 8 and 9 PM there was a 16% risk of obesity at age 15. Even worse if the child went to bed after 9 PM the risk rose to 23%.

Child obesity is not only associated with physical illness, but also mental health issues including poor self image and depression.

Of course you should try to feed your child healthy foods which, doesn’t by the way, mean pop tarts or any other junk food. This might be very difficult especially if your child sees all those commercials on TV about how great junk food tastes.

Don’t forget exercise. This can mean just walking your child to school or going to the park on a regular basis.

Oh and one other benefit of having your child go to bed earlier is that you will have a little more adult time.