Background: The current study aimed to determine the relationship between self-reported sleep duration and morbid obesity in an employee population.
Methods: Baptist Health South Florida conducts an annual Health Risk Assessment (HRA) for its employees. Data for this cross-sectional study was collected via this HRA in 2014, and included information on self-reported sleep duration, height and weight for body mass index (BMI), and other biometric measures. Average sleep duration was categorized as short sleep (<6 hr), optimal sleep (6-7.9 hr), and long sleep duration (≥8 hr), while obesity status was categorized as nonobese (BMI <30 kg/m2), obese (30-34.9 kg/m2), and morbid obese (≥35 kg/m2).
Results: A total of 9505 participants (mean age 42.8 ± 12.1 years, 75% females, and 55% Hispanic) were included in this study. Prevalence of morbid obesity was about 24% among employees who were sleeping for less than 6 hr compared to 13% and 14% among those sleeping for 6-7.9 hours, and 8 or more hours respectively. In regression analyses, persons who slept less than 6 hr had almost twice the odds of morbid obesity compared to those who slept 6-7.9 hr (odds ratio = 1.8; 1.5-2.2).
Conclusion: Our finding that short sleep duration (<6 hr) is significantly associated with a higher risk of morbid obesity should facilitate the development of workplace-based programs that focus on improving sleep among at-risk employees, especially those who work in shift duties to reduce the risk of morbid obesity and other comorbid conditions. Future studies are needed to further explore the relationship of sleep duration and morbid obesity in employee populations.
Keywords: employee population; obesity; sleep duration; weight gain.