U.S. children doing yoga taking sleep supplements

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A growing number of American children are bending into downward dog and other yoga poses, according to a new report on complementary health practices.

The report analyzed National Health Interview Survey data on practices outside of mainstream medicine and found significantly more kids and teens practicing yoga, tai chi and qi gong in 2012 than in 2007.

The study also showed a significant increase in the number of children using melatonin supplements as sleep aids. Melatonin is a natural hormone known to play a role in sleep.

Yoga originated in India more than 5,000 years ago, and the mind-body practice has become so popular in the west that yoga studios are as common in parts of California as Starbucks coffeehouses.

The new study, published in National Health Statistics Reports, included 17,321 interviews with adults about their 4- to 17-year-olds.

Overall, 3.1 percent of kids did yoga in 2012, up from 2.3 percent in 2007.

Industry data shows a nearly 8 percent increase in the number of yoga instructors during the same five years, the study authors write. In addition, they say, public schools are beginning to incorporate yoga — which fosters stretching, relaxing and developing strength — into fitness programs.

The increase in children’s use of yoga and melatonin was a surprise to Dr. Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

“The changes in the yoga category are very large,” she told Reuters Health. “I was also struck by the use of melatonin in children.”

In 2007, an estimated 1.3 million children did yoga, tai chi or qi gong, senior author Richard Nahin said at a news conference. The number grew to 1.9 million children in 2012, he said.

Researchers included the Chinese practices of tai chi and qi gong in the analysis because they are also mind-body practices, and their inclusion bolstered the sample sizes and the statistical power of the findings.

source: bangor daily news

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