Associations Among Sleep, Body Mass Index, Waist Circumference, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Among U.S. Childbearing-Age Women: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2018 Nov;27(11):1400-1407. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2017.6534. Epub 2018 Mar 27.


Background: Women of childbearing age (18-44 years) present an important group for understanding sleep, but few studies have focused on this population. No study has investigated the associations among sleep, overweight/obesity, and risk of type 2 diabetes among childbearing-age women in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Methods: Data were from NHANES, 2005-2008. The study population consisted of 18-44 year old women. Pregnant women and those diagnosed with sleep disorders were excluded. Sleep duration and quality were self-reported. Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) measurements, and a 2-hour 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) were performed by trained NHANES staff. An unadjusted linear regression analysis; a second adjusted for demographics only (partially adjusted model); and a third adjusted for demographics and variables associated with overweight/obesity and diabetes (fully adjusted model) were computed to assess associations among sleep duration/quality and BMI, WC, and 2-hour OGTT.

Results: Total sample consisted of 2388 childbearing-age women. Only sleep duration was significantly associated with BMI and WC in the unadjusted and partially adjusted models, but was no longer significant in the fully adjusted model. Neither sleep duration nor quality was significantly associated with 2-hour OGTT in any of the models.

Conclusions: Targeting sleep duration and sleep quality alone would not likely contribute to significantly lower BMI, WC, or risk of type 2 diabetes in US childbearing-age women. Additional studies, especially longitudinal ones using objective measures of sleep, are needed to confirm these findings.

Keywords: childbearing age; diabetes; obesity; sleep; women.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Demography / statistics & numerical data
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test / methods
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Obesity* / diagnosis
  • Obesity* / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • Sleep Hygiene / physiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Waist Circumference*
  • Women's Health