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Races Differ in Rates of Sleep-Related Obesity

Blacks get less shuteye than whites, more suffer from obesity, study finds

MONDAY, June 8, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- People who get too little sleep are at risk for obesity, and for blacks the risk is greater than for whites, New York researchers have found.

Studying the connection between short sleep duration and obesity, researchers analyzed national data from 29,818 adults aged 18 to 85. The study found that 52 percent of blacks and 38 percent of whites were obese (body-mass index of 30 or higher). Rates of short sleep duration (five hours or less per night) were 12 percent for blacks and 8 percent for whites.

The adjusted obesity/short sleep duration odds ratio was 1.78 for blacks and 1.43 for whites, which shows that blacks have a 35 percent greater risk of obesity associated with short sleep duration, the researchers said.

"Compared to white Americans, black Americans had a greater prevalence of short sleep and a greater prevalence of obesity. Both black and white Americans who were obese tended to have short sleep duration," study author Girardin Jean-Louis, an associate professor at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center at the Brooklyn Health Disparities Research Center, said in a news release.

The findings suggest that short sleep time may be a contributor to the obesity crisis in the United States, Jean-Louis said. Previous research has found that people who sleep for less than seven hours a night are at increased risk for obesity.

The study was to be presented Monday at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies annual meeting, in Chicago.

More information

The National Sleep Foundation has more about obesity and sleep.

SOURCE: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, news release, June 8, 2009
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