The efficacy of sleep lifestyle interventions for the management of overweight or obesity in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Ruyu Liu, Roger Figueroa, Heidi Vanden Brink, Colby J. Vorland, Sameera Auckburally, Lynn Johnson, Jessica Garay, Tamara Brown, Stacey Simon, Louisa Ells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Childhood obesity remains a significant public health concern. Sleep duration and quality among children and youth are suboptimal worldwide. Accumulating evidence suggests an association between inadequate sleep and obesity risk, yet it is unclear whether this relationship is causal. This systematic review examines the efficacy of sleep interventions alone or as a part of lifestyle interventions for the management of overweight or obesity among children and adolescents. Methods: A keyword/reference search was performed twice, in January 2021 and May 2022 in MEDLINE/PubMed, EMBASE/Ovid, PsycINFO/EBSCO, The Cochrane Library, Web of Science Core Collection/Web of Science, SciELO/Web of Science, and CINAHL/EBSCO. Study eligibility criteria included youth with overweight or obesity between 5 and 17, were RCTs or quasi-randomized, and focused on the treatment of overweight and obesity with a sleep behavior intervention component. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias assessment tool (RoB2). A Meta-analysis was conducted to estimate the effect of interventions with a sleep component on BMI. The study protocol was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42021233329). Results: A total of 8 studies (2 quasi-experiments, 6 RCTs) met inclusion criteria and accounted for 2,231 participants across 7 countries. Only one study design isolated the effect of sleep in the intervention and reported statistically significant decreases in weight and waist circumference compared to control, though we rated it at high risk of bias. Our meta-analysis showed no significant overall effect on children’s BMI as a result of participation in an intervention with a sleep component (Cohen’s d = 0.18, 95% CI= -0.04, 0.40, Z = 1.56, P =.11), though caution is warranted due to substantial heterogeneity observed across studies (Tau2 = 0.08; X2 = 23.05, df = 7; I2 = 83.73%). Conclusions: There were mixed results on the effect of sleep interventions across included studies on BMI, other weight-related outcomes, diet, physical activity, and sleep. Except for one study at low risk of bias, three were rated as ‘some concerns’ and four ‘high risk of bias’. Findings from this study highlight the need for additional RCTs isolating sleep as a component, focusing on children and adolescents living with overweight and obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number321
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


  • Body composition
  • Body mass index
  • Childhood obesity
  • Diet
  • Nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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