Insufficient sleep during infancy is correlated with excessive weight gain in childhood: a longitudinal twin cohort study

Jiaxiao Yu, Huili Jin, Li Wen, Wenjin Zhang, Richard Saffery, Chao Tong, Hongbo Qi, Mark D. Kilby, Philip N. Baker

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STUDY OBJECTIVES:To examine total sleep duration in infancy and the associations of insufficient sleep duration with later weight gain and the risk of overweight in a longitudinal twin cohort study.

METHODS:The data for this study are from the Longitudinal Twin Study (LoTiS), a twin-pregnancy birth cohort study that was carried out in China (n=186 pairs). The sleep data were collected at 6 months using the brief infant sleep questionnaire (BISQ) that was completed by parents with the assistance of a research assistant. Anthropometric data were obtained from the children’s health clinic records at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months.

RESULTS:There were no significant differences between infants with insufficient sleep and those with sufficient sleep in terms of height, weight, body mass index, incidence of overweight and body fat mass, while infants with insufficient sleep duration were predisposed to gain excessive weight from 6 to 12 and 6 to 18 months of age (all p <0.05). After adjusting for confounding variables, insufficient sleep duration was found to be correlated with excessive weight gain from 6 to 18 months of age (OR 3.47, 95% CI 1.23-9.78). The relationship was more pronounced in monozygotic (MZ) twins than in dizygotic (DZ) twins.

CONCLUSIONS:Insufficient total sleep duration at the age of 6 months is correlated with the risk of excessive weight gain at 18 months of age in twins, particularly in monozygotic twins.

CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION:Registry: Chinese Clinical Trial Registry; Identifier: ChiCTR-OOC-16008203; URL:
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2147-2154
JournalThe Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number11
Early online date17 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 May 2021


  • child overweight
  • excessive weight gain
  • infants
  • sleep duration
  • twin study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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