Predominantly nighttime feeding and weight outcomes in infants1,2

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The influence of circadian feeding patterns on weight outcomes has been shown in animal and human studies but not in very young children.


We aimed to examine the association of infant circadian feeding patterns at 12 mo of age with subsequent growth and weight status after 1 y.


Mothers from a Singapore birth cohort (n = 349) reported the food given to their infants and the feeding time at 12 mo of age. Predominantly daytime (pDT) (0700–1859; n = 282) and predominantly nighttime (pNT) (1900–0659; n = 67) feeding infants were defined by whether daytime energy intake was >50% or <50% of total energy intake as assessed with the use of a 24-h recall. Body mass index-for-age z scores (BAZs) were computed with the use of the WHO Child Growth Standards 2006 to determine changes in BAZs from 12 to 24 mo of age and weight status at 24 mo of age. Multivariable linear and logistic regression analyses were performed.


Compared with pDT feeding, pNT feeding was associated with a higher BAZ gain from 12 to 24 mo of age (adjusted β = 0.38; 95% CI: 0.11, 0.65; P = 0.006) and increased risk of becoming overweight at 24 mo of age (adjusted OR: 2.78; 95% CI: 1.11, 6.97; P = 0.029) with adjustments for maternal age, education, ethnicity, monthly household income, parity, infant BAZ at 12 mo of age, feeding mode in the first 6 mo of life, and total daily energy intake.


Our study suggests that the role of the daily distribution of energy consumption in weight regulation begins in infancy. The feeding of infants predominantly during nighttime hours was associated with adiposity gain and risk of overweight in early childhood. The inclusion of advice on the appropriate feeding time may be considered when implementing strategies to combat childhood obesity. This trial was registered at as NCT01174875.

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