Prospective associations between sedentary behavior and physical activity in adolescence and sleep duration in adulthood

Longfeng Li, Connor M. Sheehan, Megan E. Petrov, Jennifer L. Mattingly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The purpose of this prospective study was to investigate whether sedentary screen time (SST) and physical activity in adolescence were related to sleep duration in adulthood and whether these associations varied by sex. We analyzed data from 9279 adolescents who participated in Waves I and V of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) in the United States. SST was measured by reported hours spent watching television/videos or playing video/computer games per week. Physical activity was measured with participation in school team club sports and frequency (times/week) of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Results from multinomial regression models indicated that adolescents with more SST, particularly 15–21 h (Relative Risk Ratio [RRR] = 1.18, 95% CI: 1.02–1.36) or 22 or more hours (RRR = 1.19, 95% CI: 1.06–1.35) compared to 0–7 h per week SST, had significantly higher relative risk of short sleep (six or fewer hours) in adulthood, after controlling for demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status and health behaviors at Waves I and V, sleep duration at Wave I, and SST and MVPA at Wave V. The association between 22 or more hours per week SST in adolescence and later short sleep varied by sex (RRR = 0.75, 95% CI: 0.58–0.95) and was significantly stronger among males. Measures of physical activity in adolescence did not predict sleep duration. Decreasing adolescents' SST to prevent suboptimal sleep later in development may be a target for further investigation, particularly for males.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106812
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Adolescence
  • Exercise
  • Sedentary screen time
  • Sex differences
  • Sleep duration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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