A 4-year study of the association between short sleep duration and change in body mass index in Japanese male workers

J Epidemiol. 2010;20(5):385-90. doi: 10.2188/jea.je20100019. Epub 2010 Aug 7.


Background: Studies of Western populations have shown an inconsistent longitudinal association between short sleep duration and change in body mass index (BMI); a recent Japanese cohort study reported a significant association in men, but over a 1-year period. The aim of this longitudinal study was to examine whether this association was robust over a 4-year interval in Japanese men.

Methods: A total of 3803 middle-aged Japanese male white-collar workers (mean age 47.8 years, mean BMI 23.9 kg/m(2)) in Tokyo, Japan, were included in this study from 1994-1995 (baseline) to 1998-1999 (follow-up). Height and weight were objectively measured at annual health checkups, and other data, including sleep duration, were collected using a structured interview. We used linear regression models to estimate change in BMI, after adjustment for covariates. The reference category for sleep duration was set to 7 hours, to conform with previous studies.

Results: As compared with participants sleeping 7 hours, those sleeping 5 hours or less had a significantly higher BMI at baseline (beta coefficient: 0.34 kg/m(2), 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.03, 0.65) and gained 0.15 kg/m(2) in BMI over 4 years (95% CI: 0.03, 0.27), after adjustment for age, baseline BMI, lifestyle behavior, and medication.

Conclusions: The longitudinal association between short sleep duration at baseline and relative increase in BMI was significant in Japanese male workers over a 4-year interval.

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Sleep Deprivation / epidemiology*
  • Time Factors