Linking Eating Habits & Sleep Patterns in Adolescents with Symptoms of Depression

Research Paper Title

Eating habits and sleep patterns of adolescents with depression symptoms in Mumbai, India.


Adolescents with depression engage in unhealthy eating habits and irregular sleep patterns and are often at an increased risk for weight-related problems.

Improvement in these lifestyle behaviours may help to prevent depression, but knowledge about the associations between depression, sleep, eating habits and body weight among adolescents in India is limited.


This cross-sectional study investigated the prevalence of depression and its association with sleep patterns, eating habits and body weight status among a convenience sample of 527 adolescents, ages 10-17 years in Mumbai, India.

Participants completed a survey on sleep patterns such as sleep duration, daytime sleepiness and sleep problems and eating habits such as frequency of breakfast consumption, eating family meals and eating out.

Depression was assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire modified for Adolescents (PHQ-A).

Anthropometric measurements were also taken.


Within this sample, 25% had moderate to severe depression (PHQ-A ≥ 10) and 46% reported sleeping less than 6 h > thrice a week.

Adolescents with moderate to severe depression had significantly higher body mass index than those with minimal depression (26.2 ± 6.6 vs. 20.2 ± 4.8 kg/m2 ).

The odds of having clinically significant depression (PHQ-A ≥ 10) was 4.5 times higher in adolescents who had family meals ≤ once a week, 1.6 times higher among those who were sleeping <6 h and 2.3 times higher among participants having trouble falling to sleep more than thrice a week.


The findings indicated that a significant proportion of adolescents had depression symptoms; improving sleep and eating habits may present potential targets for interventions.


Moitra, P., Madan, J. & Shaikh, N.I. (2020) Eating habits and sleep patterns of adolescents with depression symptoms in Mumbai, India. Maternal & Child Nutrition. 16 Suppl 3(Suppl 3):e12998. doi: 10.1111/mcn.12998.

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