Study objectives: To examine the sleep patterns and the role of day of the week and school break in these patterns within a primarily obese sample of children.
Methods: Participants included 143 obese children (8-12 years) and their parents initiating treatment in a weight-management study in a community-based setting. Demographics, anthropometrics, and objectively measured sleep (i.e., with use of Sensewear Armbands) were collected prior to treatment.
Results: Sleep duration was insufficient in our sample, as approximately 88% obtained less than 8 hours of sleep (mean = 6.92, standard deviation = 0.85). Those with lower total sleep time included older children, those identified as African American (compared to those identified as Caucasian), and those identified as Non-Hispanic (compared to those identified as Hispanic). Children on school break initiated sleep later than those in school the week of measurement. Children woke later on weekends and when on school break. There were no differences in day of the week or school break in predicting child sleep duration and total wake time (p's > 0.05).
Conclusions: This study is one of the first to examine sleep patterns within a primarily obese sample of treatment-seeking rural children. There is a need for research to develop a better understanding of how sleep may affect health functioning and weight management, as well as quality of life and psychosocial functioning of children who are overweight or obese.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01820338.
Keywords: children; obesity; sleep duration; treatment-seeking.