Disruption of the circadian rhythms and its relationship with pediatric obesity

Pediatr Int. 2022 Jan;64(1):e14992. doi: 10.1111/ped.14992.


The circadian clock system is an evolutionarily conserved system by which organisms adapt their metabolic activities to environmental inputs, including nutrient availability. The disruption of this system has been pathogenically linked to the disintegration of metabolic homeostasis, leading to the development of metabolic complications, including obesity. Lifestyle factors that disrupt this system have been found to be associated with the development of metabolic disorder, which is most evidenced by the finding that shift workers are at an increased risk of developing various disorders, such as obesity and obesity-related complications. Lifestyle factors that contribute to a misalignment between the internal clock system and environmental rhythms have also been identified in children. A short sleep duration and skipping breakfast are prevalent in children and there is mounting evidence that these factors are associated with an increased risk of pediatric obesity; however, the underlying mechanisms have not yet been elucidated in detail. Our current understanding of the impact of lifestyle factors that cause a misalignment between the internal clock system and environmental rhythms on the development of pediatric obesity is summarized herein, with a discussion of potential mechanistic factors.

Keywords: children; circadian rhythm; obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Circadian Clocks*
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases*
  • Pediatric Obesity* / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity* / etiology