Preventing Obesity Part 1: Adequate Sleep (Podcast # 19)

Dr Angelo Tremblay

UPDATE: Part 2 (mental work) is now online here, while Part 3 (nutrition) can be found here.

Two weeks ago Dr Angelo Tremblay gave a lecture at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario on preventing obesity in 2011 and beyond.  Dr Tremblay is a world-renowned obesity researcher, and is also the 4th most published obesity researcher of all time (amazingly, 2 of his Universite Laval colleagues are also in the top 4).  Dr Tremblay was so generous that he not only allowed me to record his lecture, but he also provided me with the entire powerpoint presentation so that I could share it here on the blog (big thanks also to Dr Jean-Philippe Chaput for facilitating both the lecture and its recording).

Over the next 5 weeks I will be sharing Dr Tremblay’s presentation through our podcast, and also as a Slideshare presentation.  If you would like to listen to the presentation on-the-go then I’d recommend the podcast.  If, like me, you are a visual learner, you can watch the Slideshare webinar below (I have synced the audio with the slides, so you can just sit back and relax!).  Each weekly section is around 15 minutes, so you can easily watch or listen during your lunch break if you are so inclined.

In today’s podcast, Dr Tremblay discusses the role of sleep in the development of obesity.  Among a number of interesting findings linking inadequate sleep and increased risk of obesity, he explains the surprising finding that sleep was the best predictor of childhood overweight and obesity in the Quebec en Forme study, as well as evidence from lab-based interventions which suggest that even one night of sleep deprivation can result in dramatic changes in hunger and foot intake.

A reminder that email subscribers can listen to the podcast here on the blog, and can also download it directly by clicking here (it’s released with a creative commons license, so feel free to embed or sample it on other sites however you please). And to have all of our podcasts delivered directly to your ipod, you can also subscribe via itunes. To view all of our former podcasts, click here.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Enjoy the podcast, and don’t forget to check-in for next week’s podcast (now available here) on the impact of mental work on appetite and food intake!


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ResearchBlogging.orgChaput, J., Brunet, M., & Tremblay, A. (2006). Relationship between short sleeping hours and childhood overweight/obesity: results from the ‘Québec en Forme’ Project International Journal of Obesity, 30 (7), 1080-1085 DOI: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803291

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14 Responses to Preventing Obesity Part 1: Adequate Sleep (Podcast # 19)

    • Travis says:

      Thanks for catching that, Todd. I can’t edit it at the moment but I’ll try to fix it tonight!

      • It doesn’t need editing, a single night of sleep deprivation probably results in increased foot intake as well. I certainly find that I put my foot in my mouth more often when I’m sleep deprived.

  1. tooearly says:

    my anecdotal observations with patients over the past 20 years sure supports this
    Graveyard shits in particular seem to reek havoc on health overall
    and many of my most obese peds patients are in homes with tv’s blaring all night long: lots of room for confounding there to be sure

  2. SleepDeprivedToday says:

    Thanks so much for posting this.

    How much is because of what your body does while you are sleeping versus when you are tired you maybe don’t make the best decisions? Anecdotally, I didn’t get enough sleep the past two nights. In spite of having a delicious and nutritious lunch prepared and at my desk, I gave into temptation and left the building to go get a burger. The whole time I ate it and the accompaning fries and cole slaw, I asked “why”? To add insult to injury, I sucked down a soda I rarely drink along with it. Is it possible had I been well rested I would have been better able to refocus and eat the right lunch? Is it possible I wouldn’t have had a driving need to have a hamburger to begin with? Since I’ve been overhauling my eating habits over the last couple of months, were my abilities to avoid temptations just not there because it is all I can do to focus on my work today? Does it matter that I never eat hamburgers for lunch and my changes have been from turkey sandwiches to Quinoa and veggies? I have no idea where it came from but I felt just wiped out. I know this may sound silly but I’m curious what others think.

    Also, are we gaining weight because we aren’t sleeping or are we not sleeping because of health issues related to weight? Or, a little bit of both?

    • Travis says:

      Lots of great questions there. I can’t speak to what you experienced today specifically, but the evidence seems to suggest that there is a measurable change in hormones related to hunger and appetite in response to a night of reduced sleep. Other factors like concentration and focus could very well be involved as well, but it seems like there is almost certainly a physical component involved. The studies that Angelo described didn’t discuss stress hormones like cortisol, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were involved as well, and they have been shown to increase intake of energy-dense foods.

      As for the chicken and egg problem of sleep and obesity, I think it’s a bit of both. Reduced sleep increases the risk of obesity, but obesity itself reduces sleep quality. Whether or not promoting a good night’s sleep will reduce obesity levels I’m not sure, but it would probably be a good thing for our overall health.


  3. Jim Birch says:

    I chew my feet on sleepless nights too.

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