Sleep Duration and Weight-Related Behaviors among Adolescents

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Insufficient sleep is widespread among adolescents and has consequences that extend far beyond hampering day-to-day functioning. It may influence eating and physical activity patterns and be an important determinant of adolescent overweight/obesity status. Methods: We assessed how self-reported sleep duration on school nights was associated with weight-related behaviors (eating, diet, and physical activity) and overweight/obesity at the baseline wave (ninth grade year) of the START study (n = 2134). Results: Fifteen percent of our sample reported optimal sleep duration (8.5-10.0 hours); nonwhites, participants of lower socioeconomic status, and girls were at greater risk for insufficient sleep. Suboptimal sleep was associated with various poor weight-related behaviors such as increased sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, decreased vegetable consumption, and decreased breakfast eating (p < 0.001). Fewer hours of sleep were also associated with less physical activity and an increased likelihood of obesity (p = 0.02 for both associations). Conclusions: The influence of adolescent sleep insufficiency on diet and activity could impact childhood obesity and following chronic disease risk especially if lack of sleep sets the stage for enduring, lifelong, poor, weight-related behavior patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-442
Number of pages9
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the adolescents participating in the START study, the school districts that welcomed us to do research in their schools, our team of dedicated data collectors, and Mr. Bill Baker for his work to manage START data. Thank you to Dr. Kate Bauer for inspiring this work. This study is supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (R01 HD088176). We also gratefully acknowledge support from the Minnesota Population Center (P2C HD041023) which is funded through a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).


  • adolescence
  • diet
  • eating
  • physical activity
  • sleep

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Sleep Duration and Weight-Related Behaviors among Adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this