The effect of sleep duration on food and drink choices in students aged 18-25; a cross-sectional study
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background – The Welsh Health Survey found around 3 in 5 adults in Wales are overweight, putting strain on the National Health Service. Many factors contribute to obesity, however, less literature exists for the effect sleep has on high fat and sugar foods (major contributors to modern obesity), particularly in students, where new independence and freedom often results in poor dietary and sleeping habits. Methods – In this cross-sectional study, an adapted EPIC-Norfolk Food Frequency Questionnaire (including a sleep survey) was distributed to 19 females and 9 males from Cardiff Metropolitan University, aged 18 to 25, through opportunistic sampling. Food and drink choices were analysed in relation to their sleep duration. Results – Students who frequently slept for less than 7 hours per night reported consuming more foods high in saturated fat and sugar in a week. They also reported consuming more added sugar and soft drinks. This contrasted greatly to the students who frequently slept for more than 8 hours every night, who made unhealthy food and drink choices far less frequently over the week. Conclusions – In students sleeping below the recommended sleep duration, more obesogenic food and drink behaviours were observed, suggesting there is a relationship between the two variables. However, due to the cross-sectional nature of the investigation, a cause and effect relationship cannot be determined, calling for further research in this area to identify such a relationship. Keywords: Students, Health, Nutrition, Sleep Introduction
BSc (Hons) Public Health Nutrition
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