Sleep Duration and Obesity among Adolescents Transitioning to Adulthood: Do Results Differ by Sex?

      Objectives

      To examine the association between short sleep duration and obesity among adolescents (mean age 16 years) transitioning into young adulthood (mean age 21 years) in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N = 10 076).

      Study design

      Self-reported sleep duration was categorized as <6, 6-8, or >8 hours. Obesity status, using measured height and weight, was defined as body mass index ≥95th percentile in adolescence and body mass index ≥30 kg/m 2 in young adulthood.

      Results

      Cross-sectionally, short sleep duration was associated with obesity in adolescent males (prevalence ratio 1.8 [95% CI, 1.3-2.4]) but not in females (prevalence ratio 1.0 [95% CI, 0.7-1.4]). In longitudinal analyses, short sleep duration in adolescence was associated with incident obesity in both males and females (risk ratio 1.2 [95% CI, 1.0-1.6]) in young adulthood. No interactions by sex were noted.

      Conclusions

      Analyzing the association of sleep duration and obesity longitudinally resolved sex discrepancies observed in earlier cross-sectional analyses. Optimizing sleep duration during adolescence may be an effective intervention to prevent excess weight gain in young adults.
      Add Health ( National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health), BMI ( Body mass index), TV ( Television)
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