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Scand J Public Health. 2017 May 1:1403494817705997. doi: 10.1177/1403494817705997. [Epub ahead of print]

Childhood family structure and women's adult overweight risk: A longitudinal study.

Author information

1
1 Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS), Stockholm University & Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
2
2 Present affiliation: Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA.
3
3 Department of Statistics, Umeå School of Business and Economics, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
4
4 Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health Unit, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
5
5 Department of Geography and Economic History, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
6
6 Department of Sociology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
7
7 Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden.

Abstract

AIM:

The aim of this study was to investigate whether women's adult overweight and obesity risk was associated with their childhood family structure, measured as their mothers' marital status history, during the women's first 18 years of life.

METHODS:

Using linked register data, we analyzed 30,584 primiparous women born in Sweden in 1975 who were between 19-35 years of age when their height and pre-pregnancy weight was recorded. The outcomes were women's overweight/obesity (body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25 kg/m2) and obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) and the predictor was mothers' marital status history, which was summarized using sequence analysis. We carried out nested logistic regression models adjusting for women's age and maternal sociodemographic characteristics.

RESULTS:

Mothers' marital status history was summarized into six clusters: stable marriage, stable cohabitation, married then divorcing, cohabiting then separating, varied transitions, and not with father. In fully adjusted models and compared with women whose mothers belonged to the stable marriage cluster: (1) women whose mothers belonged to the other marital status clusters had higher odds of overweight/obesity (odds ratio (OR) ranging 1.15-1.19; p < 0.05); and (2) women whose mothers belonged to the stable cohabitation (OR = 1.31; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.14-1.52), cohabiting then separating (OR = 1.23; 95% CI = 1.01-1.49), varied transitions (OR = 1.24; 95% CI = 1.11-1.39), and not with father (OR = 1.24; 95% CI = 1.00-1.54) clusters had higher odds of obesity.

CONCLUSIONS:

Women whose mothers were not in stable marriage relationships had higher odds of being overweight or obese in adulthood. The finding that even women raised in the context of stable cohabitation had higher odds of being overweight or obese is intriguing as these relationships are socially accepted in Sweden.

KEYWORDS:

Sweden; family structure; marital status; obesity; overweight; sequence analysis

PMID:
28482752
DOI:
10.1177/1403494817705997
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