Weight gain in older adolescent females: the internet, sleep, coffee, and alcohol

J Pediatr. 2008 Nov;153(5):635-9, 639.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2008.04.072. Epub 2008 Jul 9.


Objectives: To examine whether excessive recreational Internet time, insufficient sleep, regular coffee consumption, or alcoholic beverages promote weight gain.

Study design: A longitudinal cohort of >5000 girls (Growing Up Today Study), from all over the United States and aged 14 to 21 years, returned surveys in 2001 reporting typical past-year recreational Internet time, sleep, coffee (with caffeine), and alcohol consumption. We estimated correlations among these 4 exposures. Each girl also reported her height and weight in 2000 and again in 2001. Multivariate models investigated associations between 1-year change in body mass index and same-year exposures, adjusted for adolescent growth/development, activity, and inactivity.

Results: The exposures were highly (P < .0001) correlated with each other, except for coffee with Internet time (P > .50). More Internet time, more alcohol, and less sleep were all associated (P < .05) with same-year increases in body mass index. Females, aged 18+ years, who slept <or=5 hours/night (P < .01) or who consumed alcohol 2+servings/week (P < .07) gained more body mass index from 2000 to 2001. For females in weight-promoting categories of all exposures, this translates to nearly 4 extra pounds gained over 1 year. We found no evidence that drinking coffee promotes weight gain.

Conclusions: Older girls may benefit from replacing recreational Internet time with sleep and by avoiding alcohol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Body Weight
  • Caffeine / adverse effects*
  • Coffee / adverse effects*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Life Style
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Recreation
  • Sleep*
  • Weight Gain


  • Coffee
  • Caffeine