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J Paediatr Child Health. 2018 Nov 10. doi: 10.1111/jpc.14294. [Epub ahead of print]

Development of sleep patterns in children with obese and normal-weight parents.

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Division of Pediatrics, Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Division of Physiotherapy, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Medical Management Centre, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden.



To study the sleep development and sleep characteristics in children at different obesity risks, based on parental weight, and also to explore their weekday-weekend sleep variations and associated family factors.


A total of 145 children participating in a longitudinal obesity prevention project were included, of which 37 had normal-weight parents (low obesity risk), and 108 had overweight/obese parents (high obesity risk). Sleep diaries at ages 1 and 2 years were used to study sleep development in children at different obesity risks. Objectively assessed sleep using an accelerometer at 2 years of age was used to analyse weekday-weekend sleep variations.


There was no difference in sleep development from age 1 to age 2 among children at different obesity risks, but more children in the high-risk group had prolonged sleep onset latency and low sleep efficiency. At 2 years of age, children in the high-risk group had more weekday-weekend variation in sleep offset (mean difference 18 min, 95% confidence interval (CI) 4-33 min), midpoint of sleep (mean difference 14 min, 95% CI 3-25 min) and nap onset (mean difference 42 min, 95% CI 10-74 min) than children in the low-risk group, after adjusting for other family factors. However, no difference could be detected between groups in weekday-weekend variation in sleep duration.


Unfavourable sleep characteristics, as well as more variation in sleep schedules, have been observed in children at high obesity risk. While the differences were relatively small, they may reflect the unfavourable sleep hygiene in families at high obesity risk.


child sleep; childhood obesity; sleep variation


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