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J Epidemiol. 2002 Jan;12(1):33-9.

Parental obesity, lifestyle factors and obesity in preschool children: results of the Toyama Birth Cohort study.

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  • 1Department of Welfare Promotion and Epidemiology, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Faculty of Medicine, Toyama, Japan.


The aim of this study was to clarify the impact of parental obesity and lifestyle factors on obesity in preschool children. The subjects consisted of 8941 children aged 3 years, born in 1989. Anthropometric measurements and questionnaire surveys were conducted between 1992 and 1994. Subjects of body mass index (BMI; (weight (kg))/(height (m))2) more than the age- and sex-specific centiles linked to adult overweight were defined as obese subjects. Parental obesity was defined as BMI of 25 kg/m2 or more. Logistic regression analysis was performed to clarify the strengths of parental and lifestyle factors on childhood obesity, adjusted for possible confounding factors. Odds ratios (ORs) of paternal and maternal obesity for childhood obesity were 1.70(1.43-2.02) and 2.56(2.07-3.17), respectively. There was a dose-response relationship between short sleeping hours and obesity. Compared to subjects taking 11 hours sleep or more, the adjusted OR was 1.20(0.97-1.49) for those taking 10 to 11 hours sleep, 1.34(1.05-1.72) for those taking 9 to 10 hours sleep, and 1.57(0.90-2.75) for those taking less than 9 hours sleep. Eating and exercising habits were not significantly associated with obesity. These results indicate that parental obesity and short sleeping hours are possible risk factors for obesity in preschool children.

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