Background: Short sleep duration may contribute to obesity and metabolic disease. The objective of this study was to characterize how sleep duration was associated with childhood obesity in two rural Mexican-heritage communities in California.
Methods: Data were collected from children 4-8 years of age (N=148) in two rural communities in California. Trained staff conducted family demographic surveys and child anthropometric measurements. Continuous physical activity and sleep data were collected via a wrist-worn accelerometer for one week. Nightly sleep duration was examined among preschool (4-5 years) and school age (6-8 years) children against measures of weight status and BMI.
Results: The majority of children (95%) measured in this study appeared to fall short of recommended sleep times. The mean duration of nightly sleep among children was 8.3 hours. Among children 6-8 years of age, sleep duration was marginally shorter among overweight/obese children compared to children of normal weight. Multiple regression showed body mass index percentile was negatively associated with sleep duration, among children whose families had been longer in the United States (p=0.015, R2=0.1352).
Conclusion: Promoting longer sleep may be an important part of weight gain prevention once children reach school age, especially in Latino communities where acculturation is an additional risk factor for obesity.
Sara E. Schaefer*, Rosa Gomez-Camacho, Mayra Muñoz-Gomez, Lisa Martinez, Banafsheh Sadeghi, Dorina Espinoza and Adela de la Torre
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