Teaching parents bedtime techniques to encourage healthy sleep habits in their infants may help prevent obesity, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers. Strong links exist between inadequate sleep and childhood obesity.
Researchers are studying the use of an intervention to prevent rapid infant weight gain and childhood obesity. Through the INSIGHT study (Intervention Nurses Start Infants Growing on Healthy Trajectories), the intervention was recently shown to cut in half the incidence of 1-year old infants being overweight. One component of the intervention promotes improving sleep-related behaviors for parents and their infants.
Infants of parents who learned bedtime techniques had more consistent bedtime routines, earlier bedtimes, better sleep-related behaviors and longer sleep during the night than the infants of parents who received the safety training. These infants were more likely to self-soothe to sleep without being fed and were less likely to be fed back to sleep when they awoke overnight. Researchers published their results in Pediatrics.
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