Sleep problems and their association with weight and waist gain - The Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil)

Sleep Med. 2020 Sep:73:196-201. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2020.06.017. Epub 2020 Jun 21.


Objective: To evaluate the association of sleep problems with weight and waist size gain during four years of follow-up.

Methods: We investigated 13,030 participants (35-74 years) of the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil), a multicentric cohort conducted with civil servants from six academic institutions recruited between 2008 and 2010. Sleep problems were assessed at baseline by the Clinical Interview Schedule - Revised (CIS-R), designed to detect common mental disorders based on somatic, depressive and anxiety symptoms. Weight and waist size were measured at baseline and at follow-up (2012-2014). Large weight and waist size gain were defined as ≥ 90th percentile (≥1.65 kg/year and ≥2.41 cm/year, respectively).

Results: Sleep problems were associated with higher risk of a large weight gain (RR = 1.11; 95% CI 1.01-1.24) and large waist size gain (RR = 1.19; 95% CI 1.07-1.32), adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, income, educational level, investigation center, smoking, alcohol intake, dietary energy intake, leisure-time physical activity and body mass index (BMI) or waist circumference at baseline. After additional adjustment for common mental disorders the associations became non-significant (RR = 0.99; 95% CI 0.88-1.12; RR = 1.08; 95% CI 0.97-1.22, respectively).

Conclusion: Sleep problems are associated with increased risk of developing large weight and waist size gain, but are not independently associated with common mental disorders.

Keywords: Obesity; Sleep; Sleep problems; Waist gain; Weight gain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Waist Circumference