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Background: Obesity has been identified as a major risk factor for a large number of chronic diseases. Understanding factors related to adolescent obesity is critical for prevention of chronic diseases. The associations between sleep duration and obesity among adolescents in the existing literature are controversial. Our study was designed to determine the prevalence of short sleep duration, and assess the association of sleep duration and obesity, among middle and high school students in Zhejiang, China. Methods: 18,403 Students in 442 schools were recruited and surveyed using an anonymous, self-administered questionnaires. Weighted multivariable logistic regression models were used for data analyses. Results: The mean (SD) age of the students was 15.9 (1.8) years. 49.7% of students were girls. The mean (SD) height and weight were 166.2 (8.5) cm and 54.6 (11.1) kg, respectively. The overall prevalence of obesity and overweight were 3.4% (95% CI: 3.0-3.8) and 7.8% (95% CI: 7.4-8.3), respectively. The overall prevalence of short sleep duration among students was 66.0% (95% CI: 63.8-68.1), higher among girls than boys (69.8% vs. 62.1%) (P < 0.0001). The figures for middle school, academic high school, and vocational high school were 59.0, 82.4 and 59.7%, respectively (P < 0.0001). As compared with girls who sleep 8 h per day (reference), the odds ratios (95% CI) of obesity for girls who sleep < 7 h, 7 h, 9 h and ≥ 10 h were 1.97 (1.15-3.38), 1.90 (1.18-3.04), 1.38 (0.86-2.20) and 2.12 (1.22-3.67) respectively, after adjustment for socio-demographic status, lifestyle factors, and mental health. The corresponding figures among boys were 1.45 (0.97-2.16), 1.13 (0.81-1.57), 1.25 (0.89-1.74), and 1.12 (0.81-1.54), respectively. Conclusions: Insufficient sleep is prevalent among students in Zhejiang China. A U-shaped relationship was found between sleep duration and obesity risk among girls, with the lowest risk among those who slept for 8 h, but not among boys. Adequate sleep duration may be an important component of obesity prevention initiatives among adolescents.

Original publication




Journal article


Nutr Metab (Lond)

Publication Date





Adolescents, Factors, Obesity, Overweight, Sleep duration