Family and early life factors associated with changes in overweight status between ages 5 and 14 years: findings from the Mater University Study of Pregnancy and its outcomes

A A Mamun, D A Lawlor, M J O'Callaghan, G M Williams, J M Najman
International Journal of Obesity 2005, 29 (5): 475-82

OBJECTIVE: To describe different patterns of overweight status between ages 5 and 14 y and examine the role of modifiable family and early life characteristics in explaining different patterns of change between these two ages.

DESIGN: A population-based prospective birth cohort.

SUBJECTS: A total of 2934 children (52% males) who were participants in the Mater-University study of pregnancy, Brisbane, and who were examined at ages 5 and 14 y.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Four patterns of change in overweight/obesity status between ages 5 and 14 y: (i) normal at both ages; (ii) normal at 5 y and overweight/obese at 14 y; (iii) overweight/obese at 5 y and normal at 14 y; (iv) overweight/obese at both ages.

RESULTS: Of the 2934 participants, 2018 (68.8%) had a normal body mass index (BMI) at ages 5 and 14 y, 425 (14.5%) changed from a normal BMI at age 5 y to overweight or obese at age 14 y, 175 (6.0%) changed from being overweight or obese at age 5 y to normal weight at age 14 y and 316 (10.8%) were overweight or obese at both ages 5 and 14 y. Girls were more likely to make the transition from overweight or obese at age 5 y to normal at 14 y than their boy counterparts. Children whose parents were overweight or obese were more likely to change from having a normal BMI at age 5 y to being overweight at 14 y (fully adjusted RR: 6.17 (95% CI: 3.97, 9.59)) and were more likely to be overweight at both ages (7.44 (95% CI: 4.60, 12.02)). Birth weight and increase in weight over the first 6 months of life were both positively associated with being overweight at both ages. Other explanatory factors were not associated with the different overweight status transitions.

CONCLUSIONS: Parental overweight status is an important determinant of whether a child is overweight at either stage or changes from being not overweight at 5 y to becoming so at 14 y.

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