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Inadequate sleep and poor eating behaviours are associated with higher risk of childhood overweight and obesity. Less is known about the influence sleep has on eating behaviours and consequently body composition. Furthermore, whether associations differ in boys and girls has not been investigated extensively. We investigate associations between sleep, eating behaviours and body composition in cross-sectional analysis of 5-year-old children. Weight, height, BMI, mid upper arm circumference (MUAC), abdominal circumference (AC) and skinfold measurements were obtained. Maternal reported information on child’s eating behaviour and sleep habits were collected using validated questionnaires. Multiple linear regression examined associations between sleep, eating behaviours and body composition. Sleep duration was negatively associated with BMI, with 1-h greater sleep duration associated with 0·24 kg/m2 (B = 0·24, CI −0·42, −0·03, P = 0·026) lower BMI and 0·21 cm lower (B = –0·21, CI −0·41, −0·02, P = 0·035) MUAC. When stratified by sex, girls showed stronger inverse associations between sleep duration (h) and BMI (kg/m2) (B = –0·32; CI −0·60, −0·04, P = 0·024), MUAC (cm) (B = –0·29; CI −0·58, 0·000, P = 0·05) and AC (cm) (B = –1·10; CI −1·85, −0·21, P = 0·014) than boys. Positive associations for ‘Enjoys Food’ and ‘Food Responsiveness’ with BMI, MUAC and AC were observed in girls only. Inverse associations between sleep duration and ‘Emotional Undereating’ and ‘Food Fussiness’ were observed in both sexes, although stronger in boys. Sleep duration did not mediate the relationship between eating behaviours and BMI. Further exploration is required to understand how sleep impacts eating behaviours and consequently body composition and how sex influences this relationship.
This study examines potential predictors of ‘precocious talking’ (expressive language ⩾90th percentile) at one and two years of age, and of ‘stability’ in precocious talking across both time periods, drawing on data from a prospective community cohort comprising over 1,800 children. Logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between precocious talking and the following potential predictors: gender, birth order, birth weight, non-English speaking background, socioeconomic status, maternal age, maternal mental health scores, and vocabulary and educational attainment of parents. The strongest predictors of precocity (being female and having a younger mother) warrant further exploration. Overall, however, it appears that precocity in early vocabulary development is not strongly influenced by the variables examined, which together explained just 2·6% and 1% of the variation at 1 ; 0 and 2 ; 0 respectively.