Obesity is a common disorder with many complications. Although chronodisruption plays a role in obesity, few epidemiological studies have investigated the association between artificial light at night (ALAN) and obesity. Since sleep health is related to both obesity and ALAN, we investigated the association between outdoor ALAN and obesity after adjusting for sleep health. We also investigated the association between outdoor ALAN and sleep health. This cross-sectional survey included 8526 adults, 39-70 years of age, who participated in the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study. Outdoor ALAN data were obtained from satellite images provided by the US Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. We obtained individual data regarding outdoor ALAN; body mass index; depression; and sleep health including sleep duration, mid-sleep time, and insomnia; and other demographic data including age, sex, educational level, type of residential building, monthly household income, alcohol consumption, smoking status and consumption of caffeine or alcohol before sleep. A logistic regression model was used to investigate the association between outdoor ALAN and obesity. The prevalence of obesity differed significantly according to sex (women 47% versus men 39%, p < 0.001) and outdoor ALAN (high 55% versus low 40%, p < 0.001). Univariate logistic regression analysis revealed a significant association between high outdoor ALAN and obesity (odds ratio [OR] 1.24, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.14-1.35, p < 0.001). Furthermore, multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that high outdoor ALAN was significantly associated with obesity after adjusting for age and sex (OR 1.25, 95% CI 1.14-1.37, p < 0.001) and even after controlling for various other confounding factors including age, sex, educational level, type of residential building, monthly household income, alcohol consumption, smoking, consumption of caffeine or alcohol before sleep, delayed sleep pattern, short sleep duration and habitual snoring (OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.06-1.36, p = 0.003). The findings of our study provide epidemiological evidence that outdoor ALAN is significantly related to obesity.
Keywords: Artificial light at night; chronotype; insomnia; obesity; sleep duration; sleep health; snoring.