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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012 Jun;20(6):1279-87. doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.381. Epub 2012 Jan 26.

Sleep duration and BMI in a sample of young adults.

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Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.


We examined the association between sleep duration and BMI in young adults, and, specifically, in possible gender differences. The population-based sample included 955 young men and 1051 young women (mean age = 25.3 years, s.d. = 1.7) who participated in Project EAT-III (Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults)-III. In 2008-2009, study participants completed a survey, on which they reported their weight, height, and typical bed and awakening times. Gender-specific regression models estimated cross-sectional associations between sleep duration and weight status, adjusting for age, race, SES, family structure, depressive symptoms, physical activity, and sedentary and dietary behaviors. In multivariable-adjusted linear regression models, an hour increase in sleep was associated with a -0.38 (-0.70, -0.048) BMI in men. Men who slept <7 h had a 1.4 unit higher mean BMI (27.9; 95% confidence interval (CI): 26.9, 28.9) than men who slept 7-9 h/day (26.5; 95% CI: 26.1, 27.0). Prevalence estimates of overweight (BMI ≥ 25) and obesity (BMI ≥ 30) were also inversely associated with sleep duration among men. Sleep duration was not associated with BMI, overweight, or obesity in women. Among women, but not men, there was a statistically significant positive association between trouble falling or staying asleep and mean BMI. Sleep may be an important modifiable risk factor for obesity, particularly in young adult men.

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