Adiposity in Adolescents: The Interplay of Sleep Duration and Sleep Variability

Erica C. Jansen, Galit Levi Dunietz, Ronald D. Chervin, Ana Baylin, Jonggyu Baek, Margaret Banker, Peter X.K. Song, Alejandra Cantoral, Martha Maria Tellez Rojo, Karen E. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess whether adiposity measures differed according to joint categories of sleep duration and sleep variability in a sample of Mexican adolescents. Study design: A sample of 528 Mexico City adolescents aged 9-17 years wore wrist actigraphs for 6-7 days. Average sleep duration was categorized as age-specific sufficient or insufficient. Sleep variability, the standard deviation of sleep duration, was split at the median into stable versus variable. Adiposity measures—body mass index (BMI)-for-age Z score (BMIz), triceps skinfolds, waist circumference, and percent body fat—were collected by trained assistants. We regressed adiposity measures on combined sleep duration and variability categories. Log binomial models were used to estimate prevalence ratios and 95% CI for obesity (>2 BMIz) by joint categories of sleep duration and variability, adjusting for sex, age, and maternal education. Results: Approximately 40% of the adolescents had insufficient sleep and 13% were obese. Relative to sufficient-stable sleepers, adolescents with insufficient-stable sleep had higher adiposity across all 4 measures (eg, adjusted difference in BMIz was 0.68; 95% CI, 0.35-1.00) and higher obesity prevalence (prevalence ratio, 2.54; 95% CI, 1.36-4.75). Insufficient-variable sleepers had slightly higher BMIz than sufficient-stable sleepers (adjusted difference, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.00-0.59). Conclusions: Adolescents with consistently insufficient sleep could be at greater risk for obesity. The finding that insufficient-variable sleepers had only slightly higher adiposity suggests that opportunities for “catch-up” sleep may be protective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-316
Number of pages8
Journaljournal of pediatrics
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • BMI-for-age Z score
  • catch-up sleep
  • percent body fat
  • triceps skinfolds
  • waist circumference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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