GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Approval Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Clinical and Population Health Research


Quantitative Health Sciences

First Thesis Advisor

Molly E. Waring, PhD


Nutrition Surveys, Mothers, Snacks, Sleep, Diet, Food Habits


Dissertations, UMMS; Nutrition Surveys; Mothers; Snacks; Sleep; Diet; Food Habits


Background: Mothers’ diets impact their health and the health of their children, but diet quality is suboptimal among women with young children. Evening snacking among women with young children, especially consumption of high-calorie, high-carbohydrate snacks, may impact overall diet quality and glucose metabolism. Short sleep duration and poor sleep quality may be potential risk factors. We examined whether sleep duration and poor sleep quality were associated with diet quality and evening snacking among women with young children.

Methods: Data were from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2012, nationally representative cross-sectional surveys of noninstitutionalized U.S. population. Eligible participants were non-pregnant women aged 20-44 years within 5 years of childbirth who completed two 24-hour dietary recalls and completed questions on sleep duration and quality.

Results: Among US women with young children, sleep duration was not associated with diet quality. However, overall sleep quality was associated with poorer diet quality. Short sleep duration was not associated with the consumption of neither evening snacks, nor energy intake from or nutrient consumption of evening snacks.

Conclusion: The findings of this dissertation provide information useful for informing the direction of future research of dietary quality and eating behaviors of U.S. women with young children. Studies are needed to explore whether improvement in sleep quality may improve diet quality among women with young children, which has the potential to improve both maternal and children’s health. Research may be better focused on identifying other psychosocial and behavioral risk factors for unhealthy dietary behaviors among US women with young children.



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