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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012 Feb;20(2):278-84. doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.306. Epub 2011 Oct 13.

Reduced physical activity in adults at risk for type 2 diabetes who curtail their sleep.

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Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


Adults with parental history of type 2 diabetes have high metabolic morbidity, which is exacerbated by physical inactivity. Self-reported sleep <6 h/day is associated with increased incidence of obesity and diabetes, which may be mediated in part by sleep-loss-related reduction in physical activity. We examined the relationship between habitual sleep curtailment and physical activity in adults with parental history of type 2 diabetes. Forty-eight young urban adults with parental history of type 2 diabetes (27 F/21 M; mean (s.d.) age 26 (4) years; BMI 23.8 (2.5) kg/m(2)) each completed 13 (2) days of sleep and physical activity monitoring by wrist actigraphy and waist accelerometry while following their usual lifestyle at home. Laboratory polysomnography was used to screen for sleep disorders. The primary outcome of the study was the comparison of total daily activity counts between participants with habitual sleep <6 vs. ≥6 h/night. Secondary measures included daily time spent sedentary and in light, moderate, and vigorous physical activity. Short sleepers had no sleep abnormalities and showed signs of increased sleep pressure consistent with a behavioral pattern of habitual sleep curtailment. Compared to participants who slept ≥6 h/night, short sleepers had 27% fewer daily activity counts (P = 0.042), spent less time in moderate-plus-vigorous physical activity (-43 min/day; P = 0.010), and remained more sedentary (+69 min/day; P = 0.026). Our results indicate that young urban adults with parental history of type 2 diabetes who habitually curtail their sleep have less daily physical activity and more sedentary living, which may enhance their metabolic risk.

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