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Strathprints makes available scholarly Open Access content by the Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI), a leading independent economic research unit focused on the Scottish economy and based within the Department of Economics. The FAI focuses on research exploring economics and its role within sustainable growth policy, fiscal analysis, energy and climate change, labour market trends, inclusive growth and wellbeing.

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Tracking of obesity and body fatness through mid-childhood

Wright, C.M. and Emmett, P.M. and Ness, AR and Reilly, John J and Sherriff, A. (2010) Tracking of obesity and body fatness through mid-childhood. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 95 (8). pp. 612-617. ISSN 0003-9888

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Abstract

To explore how fat, lean and body mass index (BMI) track in childhood and how this relates to parental obesity. Design and Setting Prospective population-based cohort study: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, UK. Height, weight and leg-to-leg bioelectrical impedance (BIA) were collected at ages 7 and 11 years, as well as pre-pregnancy parental heights and weights. For BMI International Obesity Task Force thresholds of obesity and overweight were used. Impedance data were expressed as separate lean and fat z scores, internally standardised for gender, height and age and a child was defined as over-fat if fat z score was >85th and very over-fat if >95th internal centile. Data were available for 7723 and 7252 children at ages 7 and 11 years, respectively (6066 at both time points). Of those obese at age 7, 75% were still obese at age 11, while of those who had been overweight 16% had become obese and 20% now had normal BMI. Both fat and lean z scores showed moderate levels of tracking (correlation coefficients 0.70 and 0.73, respectively). Children with one or two obese parents had higher fat z scores at age 7 and showed greater increases in fat thereafter. They were more likely to be very over-fat at age 7 and, of these, 69% remained so at age 11 compared to only 45% with non-obese parents (p <0.001). Children of obese parents already have high fat levels at age 7 and are more likely to remain very over-fat.