Obesity, Childhood Obesity, Sleep, Chronotype, Sleep Duration, Circadian Alignment, Diet


Childhood obesity is a pandemic affecting almost 40 million individuals aged 5-18 globally. Many current interventions are relatively successful at treating childhood obesity, yet the rate of childhood obesity continues to increase from year to year, and current intervention methods are struggling to keep up. Mounting evidence suggests that sleep may be a crucial mechanism for understanding and treating obesity, yet sleep still remains a relatively unexplored target for intervention. Circadian misalignment, a measure of the difference between the body’s preferred sleep timing and actual bed and wake times, has been almost completely ignored in the literature, despite preliminary findings suggesting a connection between circadian misalignment and obesity as moderated by dietary outcomes—an important predictor of obesity. The majority of sleep-focused research on obesity has examined sleep duration and suggests that shorter sleep duration is associated with decreased dietary quality and poor dietary habits, and thus, increased prevalence of obesity; however, interventions targeting sleep duration have proven ineffective at reducing obesity in the long run. Research examining chronotype (preferred sleep timing of individuals) have found that later chronotypes (“night owls”) are at higher risk of obesity, but studies have yet to use chronotype as an intervention target. Research on circadian alignment is limited, but initial results suggest that it is a predictor of obesity via dietary outcomes, and thus a potential intervention target for treating obesity.

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Family, Home, and Social Sciences



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Psychology Commons