Sleep Difficulties and Obesity Among Preadolescents Academic Article uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: To determine if sleep difficulties are associated with overweight/obesity status among preadolescents. METHODS: A total of 606 (288 males, 318 females) students, ages 11-13 years from southern Ontario, Canada, were included in this analysis. Overweight/obesity status was determined using age- and gender-specific criteria. Sleep difficulty status was determined if the parents reported children 'sometimes' or 'often' experiencing waking up at night, snoring or breathing loudly, and restlessness while sleeping. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association of childhood overweight status and sleep difficulties adjusting for age, gender, total physical activity score, total calories intake, maternal education level, and total hours of sleep. RESULTS: In this sample, 28% of children (76 boys and 95 girls) were identified as being overweight or obese. Relative to their normal-weight peers, overweight and obese individuals reported a higher prevalence of sleep difficulties (10.3% vs. 26.3%, p < 0.0001), reduced hours of sleep (9.4 vs. 9.2 hrs, p < 0.001), and a lower physical activity score (17.2 vs. 19.1, p < 0.01). Using a multiple logistic regression model, in comparison to children reporting none of the three sleep behaviour problems, the odds ratios (95% CI) of being overweight or obese for those having any one, two, or all three sleep behaviour problems were 1.04 (0.46-2.36), 1.35 (0.58-2.10), and 3.52 (1.42-8.74), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that the risk of overweight/obesity is associated with sleep difficulties among preadolescents. Further study is needed to determine the direction of this relationship.


  • Liu, Jian
  • Hay, John
  • Joshi, Divya
  • Faught, Brent E
  • Wade, Terry
  • Cairney, John

publication date

  • March 2011