Changes in sleep phase and body weight of mobile health App users during COVID-19 mild lockdown in Japan

Int J Obes (Lond). 2021 Oct;45(10):2277-2280. doi: 10.1038/s41366-021-00890-7. Epub 2021 Jul 3.


Objective and method: The stay-at-home order during the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted individuals' social behaviors, and therefore, effected their lifestyle including sleep, diet, and physical activity. Using the cross-sectional study design with a large sample size (N = 30,275) from the mobile health App users in Japan, we show age-dependent lifestyle changes during a nonpunitive "mild lockdown" (from April to May 2020).

Results: Sleep onset and offset were delayed on work-days but not on free-days with increased sleep duration and decreased social jetlag, and the changes were more evident in the younger population. Although average weight change was close to none because of the users' characteristic (95% of App users try to lose weight), we investigated an association between lifestyle change and body-weight change. Participants who reported advanced sleep phase during mild lockdown described a weight decrease. In contrast, the delayed sleep phase reported a weight gain. The results were significant after adjustment of confounding factors including physical activity and meal changes.

Conclusions: Although there is cumulative evidence showing a relationship between late chronotype and obesity, it is still unclear about the potential benefit of the chronotype management to control body weight. Thus, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study investigating the association between chronotype and weight changes by leveraging a large cohort.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • Child
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Obesity
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Telemedicine / instrumentation
  • Young Adult