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Children with poor sleep have a greater risk of obesity, are more likely to experience disturbed mood, do not achieve as well at school, are less physically active, and report poorer dietary habits, than children who sleep well. However, few studies have determined whether sleep interventions can actually change child obesity rates. Intervening in infancy provides a prime opportunity to engage parents who are receptive to assistance with their child's sleep.

The TOTS study follows on from the Prevention of Overweight in Infancy ( POI ) study. In brief, the POI study found that infants who received a brief infant sleep intervention were less likely to be overweight later in childhood.

Read the abstract for the POI study at PubMed
Read the abstract for the POI study's results at PubMed

Based on these results, we now want to pilot a more extensive intervention for families who are at greater need (have risk factors for infant or child obesity or overweight). This will provide information about how acceptable families find this research before we undertake a randomised controlled trial.

This study is funded by a University of Otago Research Grant and has been approved by the Central Health and Disability Ethics Committee, New Zealand (Ethics ref: 17/CEN/96).

Taking part in the study involves home visits before birth and up to 5 months after the baby is born. Questionnaires and sleep measurements as well as ideas, tips, and strategies for supporting a baby to sleep well will occur at various stages during these visits. An evaluation at the end of the study will give us information about how acceptable this process was for families.

All parents are being sent a letter by the Southern District Health Board ( SDHB ) when they book into the Queen Mary Maternity Centre. Those interested in being part of TOTS are asked to go to a website link and answer a few short questions to determine eligibility. A poster advertising the study is also being displayed at relevant venues.

View or fill in the eligibility questionnaire

View or download the poster (PDF)

Key Staff

Professor Barbara Galland
Department of Women's and Children's Health

Professor Rachael Taylor
Department of Medicine

Rachel Sayers
Assistant Research Fellow
Department of Women's and Children's Health

PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
Tel 64 3 470-9760
TOTS Study mobile 64 21 1234480

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