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Obes Res Clin Pract. 2016 Jun 3. pii: S1871-403X(16)30033-3. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2016.05.005. [Epub ahead of print]

Short sleep duration and obesity among children: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies.

Author information

  • 1Yinzhou Hospital Affiliated to Medical School of Ningbo University, Ningbo, China.
  • 2Ningbo Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Ningbo, China. Electronic address:
  • 3Medical School of Ningbo University, Ningbo, China.
  • 4Ningbo Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Ningbo, China.



Previous epidemiology studies have demonstrated that short sleep duration may be associated with the development of obesity, although the effects remain controversial. This study aimed to assess epidemiologic evidence systematically on the relation between sleep duration and obesity in children.


We searched the Medline, Cochrane Library, EMBASE and Science Citation Index databases and reference lists of the included articles. Pooled odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated using a random-effects model.


Fifty cohorts from thirteen studies were included in the pooled analysis. They included 35,540 participants from around the world. In children/adolescents the pooled OR was 1.71 (1.36-2.14; I2=91.3%), the positive association was consistent after omitting any of the studies. In subgroup analyses, the results indicated that the heterogeneity of effect may due to differences in geographical location, cut-off for short sleep duration and definition of obesity/overweight. The publication bias tests indicated a no evidence of publication bias.


This meta-analysis provides evidence that short sleep duration in children is associated with a significantly increased risk of obesity. Enough sleep duration is potentially important for the prevention of obesity among children.


Children; Meta-analysis; Obesity; Short sleep duration

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