The complexity of obesity in UK adolescents: Relationships with quantity and type of technology, sleep duration and quality, academic performance and aspiration

T. Arora, M. Hosseini-Araghi, J. Bishop, G. L. Yao, G. N. Thomas, S. Taheri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Contemporary technology and multiple device use may link to increased body mass index (BMI). The sleep-obesity relationship is inconsistent in adolescents. Sleep duration and quality may have crucial connections to obesity development, particularly in adolescents where sleep alterations are common. Elevated BMI in adolescents may influence academic performance and aspiration, but data are limited. Objectives: The objectives of this study was to assess the linear associations between BMI z-score and (i) quantity/type of technology used; (ii) sleep quantity/quality and (iii) academic performance/aspiration. Methods: Consenting adolescents (n = 624; 64.9% girls, aged 11-18 years) were recruited. The Schools Sleep Habits Survey and Technology Use Questionnaire were administered. Objective measures of height/ weight were obtained. Results: Quantity of technology was positively associated with BMI z-score b = 0.10, P <?0.01. Those who always engaged in video gaming had significantly higher BMI z-score vs. never-users, b = 1.00, P <?0.001. Weekday sleep duration and sleep onset latency were related to BMI z-score, b = -0.24, P <?0.001 and b = 0.01, P <?0.001, respectively. An inverse linear association was observed between BMI z-score and academic performance, b = -0.68, P <?0.001. Conclusions: If confirmed prospectively, reducing bedtime use of technology and improving sleep hygiene in adolescents could be an achievable intervention for attenuating obesity with potentially positive effects on academic performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-366
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Obesity
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013



  • Adolescence
  • BMI
  • Sleep
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Health Policy
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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