Up to one in three New Zealand toddlers aren't getting enough sleep - a problem that can contribute to weight problems, including obesity.

The importance of getting a good night's sleep to maintain a healthy weight has been included in new Government guidelines.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has today released updated guidance on weight management for children and young people.

"This is the first time we are formally recognising the importance of quality sleep for children and young people as an aspect of weight management," Coleman said.


"We know that quality sleep is also associated with better emotional development and academic achievement.

"Although the majority of children and young people get the recommended amount of sleep, we know that up to one in three toddlers and one in five teenagers don't."

Coleman said doctors and other primary care practitioners were encouraged to monitor a child's weight and provide advice and support when they are trending towards excess weight.

Health professionals are advised in the guidelines to asked about usual sleep length and patterns, instances of disturbed sleep and sleep "hygiene"- conditions at time of sleep including temperature, crowding, noise and light.

About 30 per cent of adults and 10 per cent of children are obese, although the rates are skewed by ethnicity. Pacific people have the highest rate among adults, at 67 per cent.

New Zealand has the third highest rate of adult obesity of developed countries.