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Shorter sleep among adolescents is associated with lower fruit and vegetable consumption the following day

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Winpenny, Eleanor M  ORCID logo
Rowthorn, Harriet 
Hollidge, Stefanie 
Westgate, Kate 
Goodyer, Ian M 


jats:titleAjats:scbstract</jats:sc> </jats:title>jats:sec jats:titleBackground</jats:title> jats:pInsufficient sleep has been associated with weight gain and metabolic dysregulation, with one suggested mechanism being through reduction in diet quality. Experimental evidence supports a causal effect of sleep timings on diet but this may not be applicable to a free-living adolescent population. In this analysis we use daily measures of sleep timings and diet quality, to examine the effect of sleep duration and timing on diet quality the following day among free-living adolescents.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleMethods</jats:title> jats:pThe ROOTS study is a prospective cohort recruited from secondary schools in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk (UK). Participants (jats:italicn</jats:italic> = 815) at mean age 15.0y (SD 0.3y) completed a diet diary and wore a combined heart rate and accelerometer device over 4 consecutive days. Sleep duration and timing (midpoint) were derived from acceleration and heart rate traces, while daily energy density and fruit and vegetable intake were calculated from dietary data. Analyses were performed at day-level (1815 person-days). Multilevel random effects models were used to test associations between sleep each night and subsequent day diet, with daily sleep and diet measures nested within individuals and schools, and adjusted for day-level and individual-level confounding variables.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleResults</jats:title> jats:pAdolescents slept a mean of 7.88 hrs (SD 1.10) per night, reporting a mean energy density of 2.12 kcal/g (SD 0.48) and median energy-adjusted daily fruit and vegetable intake of 137.3 g (IQR 130.4). One hour shorter sleep duration was associated with lower intake of fruit and vegetables (-6.42 g, 95%CI -1.84, -10.99) the following day. An association with higher dietary energy density (0.016 kcal/g, 95%CI 0.034, -0.002) the following day was observed but did not reach statistical significance. Sleep timing was not associated with either fruit and vegetable intake (-2.52 g/d, 95%CI -7.66, 2.62) or dietary energy density (-0.001 kcal/g, 95%CI -0.022, 0.020).</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleConclusions</jats:title> jats:pOur observational findings from a free-living adolescent population support the experimental evidence for a causal role of sleep on diet, with shorter sleep duration at night leading to a small decrease in diet quality the following day. These findings support experimental evidence to suggest inclusion of sleep duration as one component of interventions designed to improve diet quality and weight status in adolescents.</jats:p> </jats:sec>


Funder: National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care East of England


Research, Adolescent, Diet quality, Energy density, Longitudinal, Sleep duration, Sleep timing, Fruit and vegetable intake

Journal Title

International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity

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Journal ISSN


Volume Title


Springer Science and Business Media LLC
MRC (MR/T010576/1)