Press Release

Nighttime Light Exposure Suspected Factor in Soaring Obesity Rate

March 27, 2014

Washington, DC—The growth of waistlines over the past few decades coincided with a major societal change – increased exposure to electric lights during the night. Whether the source is the tiny screens of mobile devices or overhead lamps, nighttime light exposure is disrupting circadian rhythms and likely fueling obesity rates, according to a new review of past research published today in the Endocrine Society’s journal Endocrine Reviews.

Endocrine Society member Eve Van Cauter PhD, an expert on sleep, health and metabolism, and Endocrine Reviews article author Laura Fonken, PhD, are prepared to offer comment on many aspects of this issue, including:

  • What impact does nighttime light exposure have on circadian rhythms and metabolism?
  • How widespread is the problem of exposure to unnatural light cycles?
  • What effect does sleep disturbance have on eating habits and weight?
  • Why has nighttime light exposure been considered innocuous for such a long time?
  • What can be done to counter the metabolic effects of nighttime light exposure?

Endocrine Society Spokeswoman Eve Van Cauter, PhD
Frederick H. Rawson Professor of Medicine
University of Chicago

Endocrine Reviews article author Laura Fonken, PhD
Wexner Medical Center
The Ohio State University

A new review identifies a growing body of evidence showing pervasive nighttime light exposure disrupts circadian rhythms and may contribute to rising obesity rates in developed nations. The review is being published in the Endocrine Society’s journal Endocrine Reviews.

About Endocrine Society

Endocrinologists are at the core of solving the most pressing health problems of our time, from diabetes and obesity to infertility, bone health, and hormone-related cancers. The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest and largest organization of scientists devoted to hormone research and physicians who care for people with hormone-related conditions.

The Society has more than 18,000 members, including scientists, physicians, educators, nurses, and students in 122 countries. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at Follow us on X (formerly Twitter) at @TheEndoSociety and @EndoMedia.

Media Contacts

Colleen Williams Senior Communications Manager, Public Relations Phone: (202)-971-3611 [email protected]

Jenni Glenn Gingery Director, Communications and Media Relations Phone: (202)-971-3655 [email protected]

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