Sleep and physical activity in healthy 8-9-year-old children are affected by oily fish consumption in the FiSK Junior randomized trial

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Purpose: Studies indicate that long-chain n-3 PUFA (n-3LCPUFA) affect sleep and physical activity (PA) in childhood. However, few studies used objective tools and none studies examined the effect of fish per se. We aimed to explore if fish consumption affected sleep and PA assessed by accelerometry in children, and if effects were modified by sex.

Methods: In a randomized 12-week trial, 199 healthy 8-9-year-old children received ~ 300 g/week of oily fish or poultry. Sleep and PA were pre-specified explorative outcomes examined by accelerometers that the children wore on their hip for 7 days at baseline and endpoint, while parents registered sleep. Compliance was verified by erythrocyte n-3LCPUFA.

Results: The children slept 9.4 ± 0.5 h/night but the sleep duration variability across the week was 6.0 (95%CI: 0.8, 11.1) min lower in the fish vs poultry group. Furthermore, children in the fish group exhibited increased spare time sedentary activity [9.4 (95%CI: 1.8, 16.9) min/day] at the expense of light PA [- 8.2 (95%CI: - 14.4, - 2.0) min/day]. These effects were supported by dose-dependency with n-3LCPUFA. Additionally, latency to sleep onset was reduced by 3.6 (95%CI: 1.0, 6.3) min on weekends and moderate-vigorous PA during school hours was 3.5 (95%CI: 0.1, 6.8) min longer in fish vs poultry. P values for sex interactions were all > 0.05 but the effects tended to be most pronounced on sleep in girls and PA in boys.

Conclusion: Oily fish intake altered sleep and PA patterns among healthy schoolchildren, with some slight indications of sex differences. These findings warrant further investigation.

Clinical trial registry: At (NCT02809508) and a published protocol in Trials [Damsgaard et al. in Trials, 2016].

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)3095-3106
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - n-3 long chain fatty acids, Docosahexaenoic acid, Eicosapentaenoic acid, Children, Pediatrics, Sleep, Physical activity

ID: 256160206