Sleep and the Body Mass Index and Overweight Status of Children and Adolescents

Authors


concerning this article should be addressed to Emily K. Snell, Institute for Policy Research, 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Electronic mail may be sent to e-snell@northwestern.edu.

Abstract

Associations between sleep and the body mass index (BMI) and overweight status of children and adolescents were estimated using longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of 2,281 children aged 3–12 years at baseline. Controlling for baseline BMI, children who slept less, went to bed later, or got up earlier at the time of the first assessment had higher BMIs 5 years later and were more likely to be overweight. Child age moderated the relationship between bedtime and BMI. In addition, the study reports nationally representative data on the sleep habits of American children aged 3–18 years. This study underscores the likely importance of sleep on children's physical health and suggests that sleep is important for understanding childhood weight problems.

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