African American women who do not get enough sleep and experience a great deal of stress are more likely to be obese, according to a study of 1,500 adults aged 30-65 years living in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Half of the study participants reported sleeping less than six hours a night.

Close to 40 percent of American adults obtain less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per weeknight. Obstructive sleep apnea, for example, is a very common disease whose population prevalence is comparable to that of other chronic diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, type 2 diabetes and coronary heart
disease. Studies indicate that sleep disturbance appears to be more prevalent in African Americans than whites. The
study also found that stress affected a person’s ability to get a good night’s sleep.

1. Bidulescu A, Din-Dzietham R, Coverson DL, et al. Interaction of sleep quality and psychosocial stress on obesity in African Americans: the Cardiovascular Health Epidemiology Study (CHES). BMC Public Health 2010; 10: 581. (open access)