Relationship of Sleep Parameters, Child Psychological Functioning, and Parenting Stress to Obesity Status Among Preadolescent Children


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Abstract

Objective:Insufficient sleep may be a significant contributing factor to the increase in pediatric obesity and thus may also contribute to adult obesity and chronic illness. Previous research has been based on large survey studies with consideration of demographics and lifestyle factors (e.g., snacking and TV watching) but not of child psychological/behavioral functioning and parenting factors.Method:This study investigated the relationship of sleep duration to obesity status in 819 children ages 8 to 11 years old, with consideration of demographics, clinical elevations in child psychological/behavioral functioning, and parenting stress.Results:In unadjusted and adjusted analyses, parent-reported child sleep duration was significantly associated with the odds of obesity with an increase of 41% for each 1-hour reduction in sleep duration. In addition to sleep duration, only median neighborhood income was significantly related to obesity status. Indices of child psychological/behavioral functioning and parenting stress were associated with sleep duration but not with obesity, and adjusting for these behavioral and parenting characteristics did not appreciably alter the relationship between sleep duration and obesity status. Exploratory gender-specific analyses found that mean sleep duration was significantly associated with the odds of obesity for boys but not for girls.Conclusions:These results show that the relationship of shorter sleep duration to a greater likelihood of being obese persists even after adjusting for potential confounders of child psychological/behavioral functioning and parenting stress. Gender-specific associations are similar to findings reported in samples that include adolescents.

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