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Arch Dis Child. 2011 Jun;96(6):526-32. doi: 10.1136/adc.2010.196832. Epub 2011 Mar 14.

Does an intervention that improves infant sleep also improve overweight at age 6? Follow-up of a randomised trial.

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  • 1Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children's Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia.



Short sleep duration may contribute to childhood obesity. Amenable to intervention, sleep thus provides a potential path for prevention. The authors aimed to determine the impact of a behavioural intervention that successfully reduced parent-reported infant sleep problems on adiposity at age 6.


5-year follow-up of a previously reported population-based cluster randomised trial. Participant allocation was concealed to researchers and data collection blinded.


Recruitment from well-child centres in Melbourne, Australia.


328 children (174 intervention) with parent-reported sleep problems at age 7-8 months drawn from 49 centres (clusters).


Behavioural sleep strategies delivered over one to three structured individual nurse consultations from 8 to 10 months, versus usual care. MAIN OUTCOMES AT AGE 6 YEARS: Body mass index (BMI) z-score, percentage overweight/obese and waist circumference.


Intention-to-treat regression analyses adjusted for potential confounders.


Anthropometric data were available for 193 children (59% retention) at age 6. There was no evidence of a difference between intervention (N=101) and control (N=92) children for BMI z-score (adjusted mean difference 0.2, 95% CI -0.1 to 0.4), overweight/obese status (20% vs 17%; adjusted OR 1.4, 95% CI 0.7 to 2.8) and waist circumference (adjusted mean difference -0.3, 95% CI -1.6 to 1.1). In posthoc analyses, neither infant nor childhood sleep duration were associated with anthropometric outcomes.


A brief infant sleep intervention did not reduce overweight/obesity at 6 years. Population-based primary care sleep services seem unlikely to reduce the early childhood obesity epidemic.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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