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Cross-sectional and prospective associations of sleep duration and bedtimes with adiposity and obesity risk in 15 810 youth from 11 international cohorts

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posted on 2021-12-09, 14:10 authored by Paul J. Collings, Anders Grøntved, Russell Jago, Susi Kriemler, Kate Northstone, Jardena J. Puder, Jo Salmon, Luís B. Sardinha, Jostein Steene-Johannessen, Esther MF van Sluijs, Lauren SherarLauren Sherar, Dale EsligerDale Esliger, Ulf Ekelund
Objectives: To investigate associations of bedtimes and sleep durations with adiposity levels in children and adolescents. Methods: Individual data were pooled for 12 247 children (5819 with follow-up adiposity at 2.3 ± 1.4 years post-baseline) and 3563 adolescents from 11 international studies. Associations between questionnaire-based sleep durations, bedtimes and four groups of combined bedtimes and sleep lengths (later-shorter [reference]/earlier-shorter/later-longer/earlier-longer) with measured adiposity (body mass index [BMI] and waist circumference z-scores) and weight status, were investigated. Results: In children, longer sleep durations were consistently associated with lower adiposity markers, and earlier bedtimes were related to lower BMI z-score. Compared to sleeping <10 h, longer baseline sleep duration favourably predicted Δwaist z-score in girls (≥10 and <11 h (β-coefficient (95% confidence interval [CI])): −0.06 (−0.12 to −0.01)) and boys (≥11 h: −0.10 [−0.18 to −0.01]). Combined groups that were defined by longer sleep (later-longer and earlier-longer sleep patterns) were associated with lower adiposity, and later-longer sleep favourably predicted Δwaist z-score in girls (−0.09 [−0.15 to −0.02]). In adolescents, longer sleep durations and earlier bedtimes were associated with lower BMI z-score in the whole sample, and also with lower waist z-score in boys. Combined groups that were characterized by earlier bedtimes were associated with the same outcomes. For example, earlier-shorter (−0.22 (−0.43 to −0.01) and earlier-longer (−0.16 (−0.25 to −0.06) sleep were both associated with lower BMI z-score. Conclusions: If the associations are causal, longer sleep duration and earlier bedtimes should be targeted for obesity prevention, emphasizing longer sleep for children and earlier bedtimes for adolescents.


Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant, Grant/Award Number: DP0664206

Bristol University

British Heart Foundation, Grant/Award Number: FS/17/37/32937

Loughborough University

Physical activity epidemiology

Medical Research Council

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Behavioural Epidemiology of Physical Activity

Medical Research Council

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National Health and Medication Research Council, Grant/Award Numbers: APP1176885, APP274309

National Prevention Research Initiative, Grant/Award Number: G0701877

Norges Forskningsrd, Grant/Award Number: 249932/F20

Norges Idrettsh-gskole



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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Pediatric Obesity






Wiley on behalf of World Obesity Federation


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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Wiley under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Prof Lauren Sherar. Deposit date: 8 December 2021

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