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J Epidemiol Community Health. 2013 Dec 1;67(12):1032-7. doi: 10.1136/jech-2012-201978. Epub 2013 Sep 18.

Predicting adult obesity from measures in earlier life.

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1
Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, , Oxford, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

As most obese adults were not overweight as children, the prediction of adult obesity from childhood body size alone is limited. We constructed a two-way, multifactor risk assessment framework for predicting adult obesity during childhood using the Foresight Obesity System Map and tested it against longitudinal data from the 1958 National Child Development Study.

METHODS:

The framework divided study participants according to two categories of risk: 'conditioning factors' (past/fixed events and conditions) and 'intervention factors' (present and modifiable). At the age of 11 years, conditioning factors were 'low/high birth weight' and 'absence of breastfeeding', and intervention factors were 'low childhood activity level' and 'having at least one obese parent'. From a composite score of all four variables, study participants were assigned to one of the four risk groups: low risk, past 'conditioning' risk only, present 'intervention' risk only and high combined risk. ORs and relative risks for the development of future overweight/obesity at ages 23, 33 and 42 years were calculated for each risk group.

RESULTS:

Those identified in the highest risk category at the age of 11 were around twice as likely to become overweight (body mass index (BMI)≥25 kg/m(2)) by the age of 23 years, and obese (BMI≥30 kg/m(2)) by ages 33 and 42 years, in comparison to their low-risk peers (total sample, N=11 752). Increased prevalence of future obesity was also observed for high-risk children who were not already overweight at the age of 11 (filtered sample, N=9549).

CONCLUSIONS:

This framework identifies a greater proportion of the population that is at risk for future obesity than does childhood weight assessment alone.

KEYWORDS:

BIRTH WEIGHT; BREAST FEEDING; OBESITY; PAEDIATRIC; PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

PMID:
24052512
DOI:
10.1136/jech-2012-201978
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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