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POI: Prevention of overweight in infancy

Researcher profiles:

Sleeping, eating, and physical activity

The Prevention of Overweight in Infancy (POI) study was a 4-arm randomised controlled trial assessing whether extra education and support around sleep, breastfeeding, diet, and physical activity reduced the number of children showing excessive weight gain over the first two years of life. More than 800 Dunedin families took part in POI.

At two years of age, we observed that children who had received the sleep intervention had approximately half the odds of obesity than children who had not received the sleep intervention. Some exciting new results indicate that this benefit is still apparent at 3.5 and 5 years of age.

Funding for the original intervention plus follow-up at 3.5 and 5 years of age was obtained from the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

Australasian collaboration

POI is part of EPOCH – Early Prevention of Overweight in Infancy, a collaboration of 4 Australasian studies investigating early life approaches to obesity prevention.

Novel lines of enquiry

Novel aspects include analysis of the gut microbiota and its relationship with obesity in young children, investigation of how self-regulation emerges during growth, and the analysis of compositional time-use data early in life.


Taylor, R.W., Heath, A.-L. M., Galland, B.C. et al (2018). Sleep, nutrition and physical activity interventions to prevent obesity in infancy: Follow-up of the POI randomized controlled trial at 3.5 & 5 years. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In press.

Lawrence, J.A., Taylor, R.W., Galland, B.C. et al (2018). Family discipline practices with infants at 6 months of age. Child Care in Practice. In press.

Meredith-Jones, K., Haszard, J., Moir, C., Heath, A.-L., Lawrence, J., Galland, B., Taylor, B., Gray, A., Sayers, R., & Taylor, R. (2018). Physical activity and inactivity trajectories associated with body composition in pre-schoolers. International Journal of Obesity. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1038/s41366-018-0058-5

Howe, A. S., Heath, A.-L. M., Lawrence, J., Galland, B. C., Gray, A. R., Taylor, B. J., Sayers, R., & Taylor, R. W. (2017). Parenting style and family type, but not child temperament, are associated with television viewing time in children at two years of age. PLoS ONE, 12(12), e0188558. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0188558

Taylor, R. W., Iosua, E., Heath, A.-L. M., Gray, A. R., Taylor, B. J., Lawrence, J. A., Hanna, M., Cameron, S. L., Sayers, R., & Galland, B. (2017). Eating frequency in relation to BMI in very young children: A longitudinal analysis. Public Health Nutrition, 20(8), 1372-1379. doi: 10.1017/S1368980017000143

Galland, B. C., Sayers, R. M., Cameron, S. L., Gray, A. R., Heath, A.-L. M., Lawrence, J. A., Newlands, A., Taylor, B. J., & Taylor, R. W. (2017). Anticipatory guidance to prevent infant sleep problems within a randomised controlled trial: Infant, maternal and partner outcomes at 6 months of age. BMJ Open, 7(5), e014908. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014908

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Taylor, B. J., Gray, A. R., Galland, B. C., Heath, A.-L. M., Lawrence, J., Sayers, R. M., Cameron, S., Hanna, M., Dale, K., Coppell, K. J., & Taylor, R. W. (2017). Targeting sleep, food, and activity in infants for obesity prevention: An RCT. Pediatrics, 139(3), e20162037. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-2037

Moir, C., Meredith-Jones, K., Taylor, B. J., Gray, A., Heath, A.-L. M., Dale, K., Galland, B., Lawrence, J., Sayers, R. M., & Taylor, R. W. (2016). Early intervention to encourage physical activity in infants and toddlers: A randomized controlled trial. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 48(12), 2446-2453. doi: 10.1249/mss.0000000000001055

Taylor, R. W., Heath, A.-L. M., Galland, B. C., Cameron, S. L., Lawrence, J. A., Gray, A. R., Tannock, G. W., Lawley, B., Healey, D., Sayers, R. M., Hanna, M., Meredith-Jones, K., Hatch, B., & Taylor, B. J. (2016). Three-year follow-up of a randomised controlled trial to reduce excessive weight gain in the first two years of life: Protocol for the POI follow-up study. BMC Public Health, 16, 771. doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3383-4

Galland, B., Meredith-Jones, K., Gray, A., Sayers, R., Lawrence, J., Taylor, B., & Taylor, R. (2016). Criteria for nap identification in infants and young children using 24-h actigraphy and agreement with parental diary. Sleep Medicine, 19, 85-92. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2015.10.013

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Cameron, S. L., Heath, A.-L. M., Gray, A. R., Churcher, B., Davies, R. S., Newlands, A., Galland, B. C., Sayers, R. M., Lawrence, J. A., Taylor, B. J., & Taylor, R. W. (2015). Lactation consultant support from late pregnancy with an educational intervention at 4 months of age delays the introduction of complementary foods in a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Nutrition, 145(7),  1481-1490 doi: 10.3945/jn.114.202689

Fangupo, L. J., Heath, A.-L. M., Williams, S. M., Somerville, M. R., Lawrence, J. A., Gray, A. R., Taylor, B. J., Mills, V. C., Watson, E. O., Galland, B. C., Sayers, R. M., Hanna, M. B., & Taylor, R. W. (2015). Impact of an early-life intervention on the nutrition behaviors of 2-y-old children: A randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 102(3), 704-712. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.111823

Taylor, B.J,, Heath, A-L.M., Galland, B.C., Gray, A.R., Lawrence, J.A., Sayers, R., Dale, K., Coppell, K.J., & Taylor RW. (2011). Prevention of overweight in infancy ( study: a randomised controlled trial of sleep, food and activity interventions for preventing overweight from birth. BMC Public Health (11), 942. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-942

Askie, L.M., Baur, L.A., Campbell, K., Daniels, L.A., Hesketh, K., Magarey, A., Mihrshahi, S., Rissel, C., Simes, J., Taylor, B., Taylor, R., Voysey, M., Wen, L..M, EPOCH Collaboration. (2010). The early prevention of obesity in Children (EPOCH) collaboration – an individual patient-data prospective meta-analysis. BMC Public Health (10), 728-735.  doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-10-728

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