Background: The World Health Organization has identified obesity as one of the most visible and neglected public health problems worldwide. Meta-analytic studies suggest that insufficient sleep increases the risk of developing obesity and related serious medical conditions. Unfortunately, the nationwide average sleep duration has steadily declined over the last two decades with 25% of U.S. adults reporting insufficient sleep. Stress is also an important indirect factor in obesity, and chronic stress and laboratory-induced stress negatively impact sleep. Despite what we know from basic sciences about (a) stress and sleep and (b) sleep and obesity, we know very little about how these factors actually manifest in a natural environment. The Assessing Daily Activity Patterns Through Occupational Transitions (ADAPT) study tests whether sleep disruption plays a key role in the development of obesity for individuals exposed to involuntary job loss, a life event that is often stressful and disrupting to an individual's daily routine. Methods: This is an 18-month closed, cohort research design examining social rhythms, sleep, dietary intake, energy expenditure, waist circumference, and weight gain over 18 months in individuals who have sustained involuntary job loss. Approximately 332 participants who lost their job within the last 3 months are recruited from flyers within the Arizona Department of Economic Security (AZDES) Unemployment Insurance Administration application packets and other related postings. Multivariate growth curve modeling will be used to investigate the temporal precedence of changes in social rhythms, sleep, and weight gain. Discussion: It is hypothesized that: (1) unemployed individuals with less consistent social rhythms and worse sleep will have steeper weight gain trajectories over 18 months than unemployed individuals with stable social rhythms and better sleep; (2) disrupted sleep will mediate the relationship between social rhythm disruption and weight gain; and (3) reemployment will be associated with a reversal in the negative trajectories outlined above. Positive findings will provide support for the development of obesity prevention campaigns targeting sleep and social rhythms in an accessible subgroup of vulnerable individuals.
- Social rhythms
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health