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Relationship between short sleeping hours and childhood overweight/obesity: results from the ‘Québec en Forme’ Project



To assess the relationship between short sleep duration and obesity-related variables in children involved in the ‘Québec en Forme’ Project.


Cross-sectional study.


A total of 422 children (211 boys and 211 girls) aged between 5 and 10 years from primary schools in the City of Trois-Rivières (Québec) were selected to participate in this study.


Body weight, height and waist circumference were measured. The children were classified as normal, underweight, overweight or obese, according to body mass index (BMI) per age. An exhaustive questionnaire was administered by telephone to the parents of children.


The percentage of overweight/obesity was 20.0% in boys and 24.0% in girls. When compared to children reporting 12–13 h of sleep per day, the adjusted odds ratio for childhood overweight/obesity was 1.42 (95% confidence interval 1.09–1.98) for those with 10.5–11.5 h of sleep and 3.45 (2.61–4.67) for those with 8–10 h of sleep after adjustment for age, sex, and other risk factors. Parental obesity, low parental educational level, low total family income, long hours of TV watching, playing videogames or computer utilization, absence of breastfeeding and physical inactivity were also significantly associated with childhood overweight/obesity. In addition, we observed a significant negative association adjusted for age between sleep duration and body weight (−0.33, P<0.01), BMI (−0.12, P<0.01) and waist circumference (−0.24, P<0.01) in boys.


An inverse association was observed between sleep duration and the risk to develop childhood overweight/obesity. Longitudinal research will be required to confirm a potential link of causality between these variables.

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This study was supported by grants from the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation and the Government of the Province of Québec.

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Correspondence to A Tremblay.

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Chaput, JP., Brunet, M. & Tremblay, A. Relationship between short sleeping hours and childhood overweight/obesity: results from the ‘Québec en Forme’ Project. Int J Obes 30, 1080–1085 (2006).

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  • body mass index
  • body weight
  • waist circumference
  • primary prevention
  • physical activity

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