Bottom Line: Exposure to artificial light at night, especially sleeping with a light or television on in the room, was associated with increased risk of weight gain and overweight and obesity among a large group of women studied. However, researchers were quick to point out that exposure to artificial light at night can be indicative of socioeconomic disadvantage or unhealthy behaviors, which could contribute to weight gain and obesity. This observational study included nearly 44,000 women in its analysis. The women, who were enrolled in the Sister Study group, had no history of cancer or cardiovascular disease and weren't shift workers, daytime sleepers or pregnant at the study's start. Exposure to any artificial light at night while sleeping was associated with measures of obesity at the study baseline and follow-up. Exposure to artificial light at night was self-reported. Although causal inferences cannot be drawn from these results and more studies are needed to examine this association, reducing exposure to artificial light at night while sleeping could be considered in obesity prevention interventions.
Authors: Dale P. Sandler, Ph.D., and Yong-Moon Mark Park, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and coauthors
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