Research Article| Volume 9, ISSUE 1, P4-10, February 2023

Food insecurity, sleep, and cardiometabolic risks in urban American Indian/Alaska Native youth

Published:October 31, 2022DOI:



      Food insecurity contributes to racial/ethnic disparities in health. This is the first study to examine associations among food insecurity, sleep, and cardiometabolic outcomes in urban American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth.


      Participants were 142 urban AI/AN youth (mean age = 14 years, 58% female). Food insecurity and self-reported sleep disturbance were measured using validated surveys. A multi-dimensional sleep health composite was derived using questionnaires (ie, satisfaction, alertness) and actigraphy-derived indices (ie, duration, efficiency, regularity, timing). Cardiometabolic measures included body mass index, blood pressure, glycosylated hemoglobin, waist circumference, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Covariates were sex, age, and single-parent household.


      Greater food insecurity was significantly associated with greater body mass index (b = 0.12, p = .015), higher systolic blood pressure (b = 0.93, p = .03), and greater sleep disturbance (b = 1.49, p < .001), and marginally associated with lower sleep health composite scores (b = -0.09, p = .08). There was a significant indirect path from greater food insecurity to greater waist circumference through poorer sleep health (0.11, 95% bootstrapping CI: [0.01, 0.30]).


      Food insecurity is an important correlate of sleep and cardiometabolic health among urban AI/AN youth and should be addressed to reduce emerging health risks during this important developmental period. Policies to reduce food insecurity and increase access to healthy foods as well as sleep interventions for these youth could help, as preliminary findings suggest that sleep health may mediate the negative impact of food insecurity on cardiometabolic risks.


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