Emerita professor's work with University of Guanajuato highlights overlooked contributor to weight gain — poor sleep quality
An Arizona State University emerita professor is working with Mexican academics to help fight obesity by exposing a rarely talked about, sneaky and harmful contributor to weight gain: bad sleep.
Carol Baldwin, a distinguished veteran nurse with the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, travels to the University of Guanajuato in central Mexico twice a year to educate health professionals about the impact of sleep disorders, as part of an ongoing partnership.
“Diabetes is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Mexico,” said Baldwin, who returned from her latest class in April. “The focus is generally on nutrition and physical activity. We’ve added sleep because there is a lot of research indicating association between sleep, sleep disorders, obesity and diabetes.”
Diabetes is preventable — sleep matters
The World Diabetes Foundation (WDF), an independent nonprofit dedicated to preventing and treating diabetes in developing nations, estimates that about “75 to 80 percent of people with Type 2 diabetes are obese or overweight.” Approximately 95 percent of diabetes cases are Type 2, and according to the WDF they are “largely preventable.”
“Move more, eat less” is the usual advice given to help people control or lose weight. But the not-so-talked-about contributor to weight gain is bad sleep, Baldwin said.
In her class, Baldwin reveals sleep apnea and insomnia as the culprits preventing good sleep. But she also leads discussions about other sleep-disrupting lifestyle factors, such as late-night cellphone use. Although each of these aspects is unique, their impact is the same.