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Int J Obes (Lond). 2005 Oct;29(10):1222-9.

Anthropometric relationships between parents and children throughout childhood: the Fleurbaix-Laventie Ville Santé Study.

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Institut National de la Santé Et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), Unité 258-IFR69, Faculté de Médecine Paris Sud, Villejuif Cedex, France.



The study of parent-child anthropometric relationships and their evolution over time may help to better understand familial risk factors for childhood obesity.


In a population-based cohort of 124 nuclear families (Fleurbaix-Laventie Ville Santé Study (FLVS) I and II), various anthropometric parameters were measured in both parents and their children, first when the children were prepubescent and again at the end of puberty. Troncular adiposity repartition was estimated by calculating troncular to peripheral skinfolds ratio and waist-to-hip circumferences ratio. Birth and infancy heights and weights were also obtained from the children's health booklets. Parent-child correlations were estimated in infancy, before and at the end of the child's puberty. A prospective analysis was performed to predict the changes in the children's measurements over puberty according to their parents' corresponding baseline values.


BMI and weight correlations at birth were high (>0.30) with the mother and low (<0.10) with the father, then they converged to an intermediate level at 2 y and remained between 0.2 and 0.3 thereafter. Correlations for waist circumference were already present at the prepubertal period and persisted on the same level at the postpubertal period, whereas correlations for subcutaneous adiposity - measured by four skinfolds - and for adiposity distribution - measured by ratios - were higher at the postpubertal period. Moreover, the prospective approach showed that mother's BMI predicted the evolution of her children's BMI over puberty, whereas this relationship was observed more specifically with the father concerning adiposity distribution parameters.


Maternal adiposity may act early in life on the adiposity of the child. Maternal and paternal adiposities seem to have quite distinct effects at two key periods of the child's adiposity development such as the prenatal and pubertal periods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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