Risk factors for childhood overweight: A prospective study from birth to 9.5 years

Department of Pediatrics , Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, United States
Journal of Pediatrics (Impact Factor: 3.79). 08/2004; 145(1):20-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2004.03.023
Source: PubMed


To ascertain risk factors for the development of overweight in children at 9.5 years of age.
This was a prospective study of 150 children from birth to 9.5 years of age, with assessment of multiple hypothesized risk factors drawn from research reports.
Five independent risk factors for childhood overweight were found. The strongest was parent overweight, which was mediated by child temperament. The remaining risk factors were low parent concerns about their child's thinness, persistent child tantrums over food, and less sleep time in childhood. Possible mechanisms by which each of these factors influence weight gain are outlined. Two different pathways to childhood overweight/obesity were found, depending on degree of parental overweight.
There is evidence of considerable interaction between parent and child characteristics in the development of overweight. Several of the identified risk factors are amenable to intervention possibly leading to the development of early prevention programs.

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    • "The relationship between sleep duration and growth outcomes has been primarily investigated in school-age children and not in younger age groups [3] [6] [7] [9] [10] [13]. In addition, earlier studies were performed in populations that are predominantly Caucasian, even though epidemiologic evidence indicates that sleep duration in children is shorter in East Asian countries [14] [15] [16]. "
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    • "Obesity is characterized by excessive body fat (Flynn et al., 2006), and its development is associated with biological, genetic, and behavioral variables (Agras et al., 2004). The fast rate of increase in obesity over the last few decades has concerned health professionals (Wang and Dietz, 2002), as obesity is an important biological risk factor for the development of chronic diseases (CDs) (Falaschetti et al., 2010; Lawlor et al., 2010), associated with risk of low cardiorespiratory fitness (Artero et al., 2010; Dumith et al., 2010; Mak et al., 2010), increases the 'years of life lost', and hence public health care costs (Fontaine et al., 2003; Wang and Dietz, 2002). "
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