Risk factors for obesity in 7-year-old European children: the Auckland Birthweight Collaborative Study

Blair, Nikki J.; Thompson, John M. D.; Black, Peter N.; Becroft, David M. O.; Clark, Phillipa M.; Dug Yeo Han; Robinson, Elizabeth; Waldie, Karen E.; Wild, Chris J.; Mitchell, Edwin A.
October 2007
Archives of Disease in Childhood;Oct2007, Vol. 92 Issue 10, p866
Academic Journal
Objective: To identify risk factors associated with obesity in primary school children, with a particular focus on those which can be modified. To identify critical periods and growth patterns in the development of childhood obesity. Methods: 871 New Zealand European children were enrolled in a longitudinal study at birth and data were collected at birth, 1, 3.5 and 7 years of age. Data collected at 7 years included weight, height, bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), television viewing time and a 24 h body movement record (actigraphy). The outcome measure was percentage body fat (PBF), which was calculated at 3.5 and 7 years using BIA. Univariate and multiple regression analyses were carried out using PBF as a continuous variable. Results: Multivariable analysis found maternal overweight/obesity, maternal age, female gender, sedentary activity time and hours of television viewing to be independently associated with PBF at 7 years. Growth variables (birth weight, rapid weight gain in infancy, early (1–3.5 years) and middle childhood (3.5–7 years)) were also independently associated with adiposity at 7 years. There was a strong correlation between PBF at 3.5 years and PBF at 7 years. Conclusions: Many primary school aged children start on the trajectory of obesity in the preschool years, which suggests interventions need to start early. Maternal overweight/obesity, television watching, sedentary activity time and rapid weight gain in infancy, early and middle childhood are risk factors for childhood obesity, and are all potentially modifiable.


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