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Effects of the healthy start randomized intervention on psychological stress and sleep habits among obesity-susceptible healthy weight children and their parents

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Poor sleep and psychological stress are obesity determinants that are rarely included in obesity prevention programs. The aim was to report the effects of the Healthy Start randomized intervention on the secondary outcomes psychological stress and sleep duration and onset latency. Data was obtained from the Healthy Start randomized intervention conducted in 2009-2012 among Danish healthy weight children aged 2-6 years, who had either a high birth weight (>4,000 g), high maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (>28 kg/m2), or low maternal educational level (≤10 years of schooling) and their parents. The intervention was designed to deliver improvements in diet and physical activity habits, optimization of sleep habits, and reduction of psychological family stress. The average intervention period was 15 months. Children with information on a 7-day sleep record, sleep onset latency, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and a modified version of Parenting Stress Index (PSI) were included. The effects of the intervention on sleep habits, PSI scores, SDQ Total Difficulties (SDQ-TD) and Pro-social Behavior scores, and 95% Confidence Intervals (95% CI) were analyzed using linear regression intention-to-treat (n = 543 (intervention group n = 271, control group n = 272)) analyses. No statistically significant effects on sleep duration, sleep onset latency, PSI score, or SDQ Pro-social Behavior score were observed. Values both before and after the intervention were within the normal range both for children in the intervention and children in the control group. Mean change in SDQ-TD was 0.09 points (95% CI -0.57;0.59) in the intervention group, and -0.69 points (95% CI -1.16; -0.23) in the control group (p = 0.06). In conclusion, there were no intervention effects in relation to sleep duration, sleep onset latency, PSI score, or SDQ Pro-social behavior. There was an indication that children in the intervention group had slightly more behavioral problems than the control group after the intervention, but values were within normal range both before and after the intervention, and the difference is not considered to be clinically meaningful.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0264514
JournalPLoS One
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)e0264514
Publication statusPublished - 2022

ID: 75621143