Artificial Light-at-Night Exposure and Overweight and Obesity across GDP Levels among Chinese Children and Adolescents

Jiajia Dang, Di Shi, Xi Li, Ning Ma, Yunfei Liu, Panliang Zhong, Xiaojin Yan, Jingshu Zhang, Patrick W. C. Lau, Yanhui Dong, Yi Song*, Jun Ma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Evidence in adults suggests that exposure to artificial light-at-night (ALAN) leads to obesity. However, little is known about whether this effect exists in children and adolescents. We aimed to investigate whether ALAN exposure was associated with overweight and obesity in school-aged children and adolescents and whether this association varied with socioeconomic status.

Methods: Data on the height and weight of 129,500 children and adolescents aged 10–18 years from 72 cities were extracted from the 2014 Chinese National Survey on Students’ Constitution and Health (CNSSCH). The ALAN area percentage and average ALAN intensity were calculated using the Visible/Infrared Imager/Radiometer Suite. The subjects were separated into three categories based on the cities’ gross domestic product per capita (GDPPC). A mixed-effect logistic regression model and generalized additive model (GAM) were utilized to evaluate the association between ALAN exposure and overweight and obesity in children and adolescents stratified by municipal GDPPC.

Results: Both ALAN area (OR = 1.194, 95% CI: 1.175–1.212) and ALAN intensity (OR = 1.019, 95% CI: 1.017–1.020) were positively associated with overweight and obesity in children and adolescents, and the associations remained robust after adjusting for covariates. ORs for overweight and obesity and ALAN area decreased as GDPPC level increased (first tertile: OR = 1.457, 95% CI: 1.335–1.590; second tertile: OR = 1.350, 95% CI: 1.245–1.464; third tertile: OR = 1.100, 95% CI: 1.081–1.119). Similar results were observed for ALAN intensity. In the GAM models, thresholds existed in almost all these spline trends, indicating that ALAN might have a nonlinear association with overweight and obesity.

Conclusions: ALAN contributed to the development of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents and this effect differed with GDPPC. Future longitudinal studies should confirm the causal relationship between ALAN and obesity. Moreover, reducing unnecessary exposure to artificial light at night may have beneficial implications for controlling childhood and adolescent obesity, particularly in low-income areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number939
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

User-Defined Keywords

  • adolescents
  • artificial light-at-night
  • children
  • obesity
  • overweight


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