Associations of Sleep with Food Cravings, Diet, and Obesity in Adolescence

Nutrients. 2019 Nov 30;11(12):2899. doi: 10.3390/nu11122899.


Background: Sleep and dietary intake/quality can contribute to excess weight gain, but food cravings may influence these relationships. This cross-sectional study examined the relationship of adolescents' sleep characteristics with dietary intake/quality and obesity and whether food cravings mediated these relationships. Methods: Sleep measures were calculated based on 24-h accelerometry, and height and weight were directly measured to calculate body mass index (BMI) z-scores. Food cravings were assessed by the Food Craving Inventory (FCI). Dietary intake and quality were calculated based on dietary recalls. Multivariable linear regression was used to examine the associations among sleep, food cravings, dietary intake/quality, and obesity, adjusting for confounders. Results: In total, 256 adolescents (ages 10-16 years) had complete data; 42% were non-White and 45% were boys. Sleep efficiency was inversely associated with sweet cravings and FCI-28. Sleep duration, meeting the sleep duration guidelines, and fruit/vegetable cravings were each positively associated with dietary quality. Sleep duration was negatively associated with BMI z-score. Mediation models were not performed as no sleep parameter was associated with both cravings and dietary intake/quality or BMI z-score. Conclusions: Associations existed among poor sleep, quantity and quality, with more frequent food cravings and worse dietary quality. Sleep may underlie adolescent obesogenic behaviors.

Keywords: adiposity; appetite; child; healthy eating index.

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Craving*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet*
  • Diet, Healthy
  • Eating
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritive Value
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Sleep*