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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Sleep, Diet and Exercise: Keys to Weight and Health Management

By Michael McBurney

Alyssa Sparacino, contributor to Health, claims there are 11 health benefits of sleep. WebMD’s R Robin Griffin lists 9 reasons to get more sleep. They include better health, better sex life, less pain and lower risk of injury. A new study finds the list of sleep benefits should also include making healthier food choices.

Kruger and colleagues analyzed cross-sectional data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. In-home interviews were conducted with a nationally representative sample of American adolescents (n = 14,738) between 1994-2008. Based on records from 13,284, they report that adolescents reporting <7 hr sleep nightly were 34% less likely to consume at least one vegetable and one fruit serving daily than those sleeping >8 hr. They were also more likely to consume fast food.  Greater screen time was also associated with less fruit and vegetable consumption. 56% of the adolescents reported consuming at least one vegetable or fruit on the previous day. Well below the recommended 2.5-3 cups of vegetables and 1.5-2 cups of fruit.

The main variables affecting fruit and vegetable intake among adolescents are home availability and taste preference. A systematic review of 7 intervention trials involving family-focused interventions to increase daily fruit and vegetable consumption among overweight children found only one had a lasting effect. Among Chinese youth, there has been a small increase in total fruit consumption (50 g/d) between 1991 and 2009 but total vegetable consumption decreased from 250 to 226 g/d. Research from Canada finds that higher fruit and vegetable intakes during adolescence increases self-rated health in early adulthood.

Although the amount of sleep needed varies across ages, new research finds an association between sleep and nutrition. For more information sleep and the brain, visit the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke “Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep”. After all, research shows that sleep, diet and exercise are all important to weight and health management.

Main Citation

Kruger AK, Reither EN, Peppard PE, Krueger PM, Hale L. Do sleep-derived adolescents make less-healthy food choices? 2014 Br J Nutr doi: 10.1017/S0007114514000130

Other Citations

Neumark-Sztainer D, Wall M, Perry C, Story M. Correlates of fruit and vegetable intake among adolescents: Findings from Project EAT. 2003 Prev Med doi: 10.1016/S0091-7435I03)00114-2

Bourke M, Whittaker PJ, Verma A. Are dietary interventions effective at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among overweight children? A systematic review. 2014 J Epidemiol Community Health doi: 10.1136/jech-2013-203238

Wang ZH, Zhang B, Wang HJ, Zhang JG, Du WW, Su C, Zhang J, Jiang HR, Zhai FY. Trend in vegetable and fruit intake among Chinese children and adolescents 6 to 17 years from 1991 to 2009 and related socioeconomic factors. 2013 Eur PubMed Central 34:863-868

Takaoka Y, Kawakami N. Fruit and vegetable consumption in adolescence and health in early adulthood: a longitudinal analysis of the Statistics Canada’s National Population Health Survey. 2013 BMC Public Health doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-1206