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Sleep Duration and Weight Gain among Students at a Historically Black University

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Objective: We investigated sex differences in sleep and examined the association between objectively-measured sleep characteristics and weight gain among 54 black students at a historically black university in spring 2018. Methods: Participants wore a wearable tracker (Fitbit Alta) for an average of 68 days of sleep over the spring semester and 5.5 days of sleep over the spring break. They also completed a questionnaire. Results: Average sleep duration was 6 hours 35 minutes. More women had short sleep (< 7 hours / night) than men (92.1% vs 43.8%; p < .001). Women had shorter sleep (6 hours 24 minutes vs 7 hours 1 minute; p = .003), shorter naps (2 hours 4 minutes vs 2 hours 30 minutes; p = .043), and lower sleep efficiency (93.0% vs 94.1%; p = .048) than men. More women than men experienced weight gain (79.0% vs 68.8%, p < .05). We found an inverse relationship between sleep duration and weight gain in both sexes (r = -0.42, p < .05). Conclusions: Appropriate sleep and weight management should be considered to address sex disparities in sleep and weight gain among black students at historically black universities.
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Keywords: COLLEGE STUDENTS; HBCUs; SEX DIFFERENCES; SLEEP; SLEEP DURATION; SLEEP EFFICIENCY; WEIGHT GAIN

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2021

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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