Sleep and birthweight predict visceral adiposity in overweight/obese children


Address for correspondence: Dr T Thomas, Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit, St. John's Research Institute, St. John's National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore 560034, India. E-mail:



Visceral adiposity poses significant consequences for long-term health and it is important to identify methods that can be used to prevent fat deposition in visceral adipose tissue.


To identify the factors contributing to differential fat distribution in overweight/obese children.


Demographic, dietary and lifestyle factors potentially associated with increased visceral adipose tissue in overweight and obese South-Indian children aged 3 to 16 years. The diagnosis of visceral obesity was based on the waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) cut-off value of 0.5.


Exposure variables with statistically different distributions in the two WHtR categories, when examined by Mann–Whitney and chi-square tests, were used to develop a binary logistic regression model of visceral adiposity. Increased birthweight and higher sleep duration were significant predictors of having a healthy WHtR, with odds ratios of 1.30 and 1.26 respectively.


Early programming effects associated with low birthweight and current sleep deprivation could promote the storage of excess fat as visceral adipose tissue in overweight and obese children.