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Obes Rev. 2012 Nov;13(11):985-1000. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01015.x. Epub 2012 Jun 26.

The impact of childhood obesity on morbidity and mortality in adulthood: a systematic review.

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1
Department of Non-communicable Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK. minhae.park@ishtm.ac.uk

Abstract

The objective of this study was to evaluate the evidence on whether childhood obesity is a risk factor for adult disease, independent of adult body mass index (BMI). Ovid MEDLINE (1948-May 2011), EMBASE (1980-2011 week 18) and the Cochrane Library (1990-2011) were searched for published studies of BMI from directly measured weight and height in childhood (2-19 years) and disease outcomes in adulthood. Data were synthesized in a narrative fashion. Thirty-nine studies (n 181-1.1 million) were included in the review. There was evidence for associations between childhood BMI and type 2 diabetes, hypertension and coronary heart disease. Few studies examined associations independent of adult BMI; these showed that effect sizes were attenuated after adjustment for adult BMI in standard regression analyses. Although there is a consistent body of evidence for associations between childhood BMI and cardiovascular outcomes, there is a lack of evidence for effects independent of adult BMI. Studies have attempted to examine independent effects using standard adjustment for adult BMI, which is subject to over-adjustment and problems with interpretation. Studies that use more robust designs and analytical techniques are needed to establish whether childhood obesity is an independent risk factor for adult disease.

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