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Public Health Nutr. 2014 Oct;17(10):2307-15. doi: 10.1017/S1368980013002474. Epub 2013 Sep 20.

Family structure and childhood obesity: results of the IDEFICS Project.

Author information

1
1Epidemiology and Population Genetics,Institute of Food Science,National Research Council,Via Roma 64,83100 Avellino,Italy.
2
2Department of Public Health and Community Medicine,University of Gothenburg,Gothenburg,Sweden.
3
3Human Health Sciences,Institute for Public Health Nursing,University of Bremen,Bremen,Germany.
4
5Department of Public Health,Ghent University,Ghent,Belgium.
5
6Department of Pediatrics,University of Pécs Medical School,Pécs,Hungary.
6
7Growth,Exercise,Nutrition and Development (GENUD) Research Group,University of Zaragoza,Zaragoza,Spain.
7
8Research and Education Institute of Child Health,Strovolos,Cyprus.
8
9National Institute for Health Development,Tallinn,Estonia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To analyse the association between family structure and adiposity in children.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis of the IDEFICS (Identification and prevention of dietary- and lifestyle-induced health effects in children and infants) study cohort.

SETTING:

Primary schools and kindergartens.

SUBJECTS:

Children (n 12 350; aged 7·9 (SD 1·8) years) for the cross-sectional analysis and children (n 5236; at baseline: normal weight, aged 5·9 (SD 1·8) years) for the longitudinal study underwent anthropometry. Family structure was analysed as (i) number and type of cohabiting adults and (ii) number of siblings.

RESULTS:

In the cross-sectional analysis, after controlling for covariates, children living with grandparents had significantly higher BMI Z-score than those living with both parents (0·63; 95% CI 0·33, 0·92 v. 0·19; 95% CI 0·17, 0·22; P < 0·01); in addition, the higher the number of siblings, the lower the BMI Z-score (only child = 0·31; 95% CI 0·24, 0·38; 1 sibling = 0·19; 95% CI 0·16, 0·23; 2 siblings = 0·15; 95% CI 0·09, 0·20; >2 siblings = 0·07, 95% CI 0·04, 0·19; P < 0·001). Over the 2-year follow-up, differences in weight gain were observed across family-structure categories. Further, the risk of incidence of overweight/obesity was significantly lower the higher the number of siblings living in the household (v. only child: 1 sibling = 0·74, 95% CI 0·57, 0·96; 2 siblings = 0·63, 95% CI 0·45, 0·88; >2 siblings = 0·40, 95% CI 0·21, 0·77), independently of confounders.

CONCLUSIONS:

The study suggests that an independent association between family structure and childhood obesity exists.

PMID:
24053908
DOI:
10.1017/S1368980013002474
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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