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Poor sleep and adolescent obesity risk: a narrative review of potential mechanisms

Authors Duraccio KM, Krietsch KN, Chardon ML, Van Dyk TR, Beebe DW

Received 15 June 2019

Accepted for publication 17 August 2019

Published 9 September 2019 Volume 2019:10 Pages 117—130

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AHMT.S219594

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Cristina Weinberg

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Alastair Sutcliffe


Kara M Duraccio1, Kendra N Krietsch1, Marie L Chardon1, Tori R Van Dyk2, Dean W Beebe1,3

1Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Center, Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology Department, Cincinnati, OH, USA; 2Loma Linda University, Department of Psychology, Loma Linda, CA, USA; 3University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati, OH, USA

Correspondence: Kara M Duraccio
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Center, Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology Department, 3333 Burnet Avenue, MLC 3015, Cincinnati, OH 45229-3026, USA
Tel +1 513 803 1387
Email Kara.Duraccio@cchmc.orgT

Abstract: Poor sleep is related to increased obesity risk in adolescents, though the mechanisms of this relationship are unclear. This paper presents a conceptual framework of the various pathways that have been proposed to drive this relationship. In this framework, increased food reward, emotional reactivity, decreased inhibitory control, metabolic disturbances, poorer dietary quality, and disrupted meal timings may increase the likelihood of increasing overall energy intake. This paper further notes how poor sleep increases sedentary behavior and screen time, which likely limits overall energy expenditure. The model posits that these mechanisms result in an imbalance of energy intake and expenditure following poor sleep, intensifying the overall risk for obesity. Increases in food reward processes, decreases in insulin sensitivity, disrupted meal timing, and increases in sedentary behavior seem to be the most compelling mechanisms linking poor sleep with increased obesity risk in adolescents. Future directions and clinical implications of this framework are discussed.

Keywords: sleep, obesity, food reward, inhibitory control, sedentary behavior, diet

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