Associations between sleep and memory in a clinical sample of obese children and adolescents.




Passanante, Natalie M.

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Today more than one third of U. S. children and adolescents are classified as overweight or obese. While interventions have produced short term improvements in weight status, treatment effects are infrequently maintained. Standard interventions may not be well-suited for the cognitive profile associated with obesity, which is characterized by impaired executive functioning. The literature on memory consolidation during sleep suggests that sleep problems associated with obesity may contribute to this cognitive profile in ways that have yet to be elucidated. The present study examined the associations between sleep and multiple indices of memory in a clinical sample of 45 obese children and adolescents. Sleep was assessed from both child and parent perspectives. Memory was evaluated using the Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning, Second Edition (WRAML2). Multiple linear regression analyses revealed that sleep duration and sleep quality explained the most variation in visual memory abilities. The results underscore the importance of early intervention in childhood obesity and illuminate the importance of targeting sleep as a component of weight loss interventions.