British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Behaviour, Appetite and Obesity

Do sleep-deprived adolescents make less-healthy food choices?

Allison K. Krugera1, Eric N. Reithera2, Paul E. Pepparda3, Patrick M. Kruegera4 and Lauren Halea1 c1

a1 Stony Brook University, Program in Public Health, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8338, USA

a2 Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA

a3 University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA

a4 University of Colorado, Denver, CO, USA


Short sleep duration among children and adolescents has been reported to be associated with elevated BMI and other adverse health outcomes. Food choices are one proposed mechanism through which this association may occur. In the present study, we examined whether self-reported habitual sleep duration is associated with vegetable and fruit consumption and fast food consumption. Using cross-sectional data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (n 13 284), we estimated three nested logistic regression models for two outcome variables: daily vegetable and fruit consumption and previous week's fast food consumption. The adjusted models included demographic and social/behavioural covariates. Self-reported habitual short sleep duration ( < 7 h/night) was associated with reduced odds of vegetable and fruit consumption compared with the recommended sleep duration (>8 h/night) (OR 0·66, P <0·001), even after adjusting for demographic and social/behavioural factors (OR 0·75, P <0·001). Short sleep duration was also associated with increased odds of fast food consumption (OR 1·40, P <0·001) even after adjustment (OR 1·20, P <0·05). Food choices are significantly associated with sleep duration and may play an important role in the mediation of the association between sleep and health among adolescents.

(Received September 17 2013)

(Revised January 09 2014)

(Accepted January 10 2014)

(Online publication February 13 2014)

Key Words:

  • Sleep;
  • Sleep duration;
  • Diet;
  • Adolescents;
  • Food choices


c1 Corresponding author: L. Hale, fax +631 444 3480, email