Sleep Duration and Subsequent Obesity

A provocative study from Brazil (CSE Halal et al. J Pediatr 2016; 168: 99-103) examined a cohort of 4231 infants and assessed sleep duration from 1-4 years of age.


  • 10.1% of cohort had short sleep duration at any follow-up
  • At 4 years of age, 201 children (5.3%) were obese and 302 (8%) were overweight
  • Prevalence ratio for obesity/overweight was 1.32 among those who were ‘short-sleepers’

This study introduction notes that studies in adults have suggested an association between poor sleep and weight gain, “possibly through elevation of cortisol and gherlin levels, along with reduction in leptin levels, thereby leading to increased hunger and reduced energy expenditure.”

Normal sleep patterns: for infants 12-15 hours/day, & for toddlers 11-14 hours/day.  At night, average expected sleep is 12 hours at 1 year of age and 11 hours at 4 years of age.

My take: Looking at early sleep patterns helps reduce the likelihood of reverse causation.  This study and others shows an association with less sleep and increased likelihood of weight gain.  Why???

In same issue (AI Wijtzes et al. J Pediatr 2016; 168: 118-25) report that breakfast skipping at age 4 years is associated (ß =1.38) with a higher percent fat mass at age 6 years, though no associations were found with BMI or weight status.  This study involved prospectively collected data from 5914 children in the “Generation R Study” in The Netherlands.

Briefly noted: JA Emond et al. J Pediatr 2016; 168: 158-63. “Greater child commercial TV viewing was significantly associated with more frequent family visits to those fast food restaurants …toy collecting partially mediated that positive association.” This study involved 100 parents with children aged 3-7 in a rural community.

Related blog posts:

This graphic identifies commercial entities influencing food choices

This graphic identifies commercial entities influencing food choices

1 thought on “Sleep Duration and Subsequent Obesity

  1. Pingback: Bedtime in Preschool-Aged Children and Risk for Adolescent Obesity | gutsandgrowth

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