Insufficient sleep among elementary and middle school students is linked with elevated soda consumption and other unhealthy dietary behaviors.
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This study examines the extent to which insufficient sleep is associated with diet quality in students taking part in the Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration Project.
Data were collected in Fall 2012 for all 4th and 7th grade children enrolled in public schools in two Massachusetts communities. During annual body mass index (BMI) screening, students completed a survey that assessed diet, physical activity, screen time, and sleep. Of the 2456 enrolled students, 1870 (76%) had complete survey data. Generalized estimating equations were used to examine associations between sleep duration and dietary outcomes (vegetables, fruits, 100% juice, juice drinks, soda, sugar-sweetened beverages and water), accounting for clustering by school. Models were adjusted for community, grade, race/ethnicity, gender, television in the bedroom, screen time, and physical activity.
In adjusted models, students who reported sleeping < 10 hours/day consumed soda more frequently (β = 0.11, 95% CI: 0.03, 0.20) and vegetables less frequently (β = -0.09, 95% CI: -0.18, -0.01) compared with students who reported ≥ 10 hours/day. No significant associations were observed between sleep duration and fruits, 100% juice, juice drinks or water.
In this population, insufficient sleep duration was associated with more frequent soda and less frequent vegetable consumption. Longitudinal research is needed to further examine these relationships.