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1.  Changes in serum lipid profile of obese or overweight children and adolescents following a lifestyle modification course 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2012;8(3):143-148 .
Considering rapid global increase in children obesity and high prevalence of dyslipidemia in obese and overweight children, this study aimed to evaluate the effect of an educational course on changes of lipid profile in children.
This non-pharmacological clinical trial study was performed on 4-18 year-old children attending outpatient clinics of Isfahan Endocrine and Metabolism Research Center (Iran). Anthropometric measurements were conducted for all children. Fasting blood samples were taken from right hand of the participants at the first laboratory visit. Biochemical tests including measurement of total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) were also carried out. Children took part in one educational session in which they were taught about ways and benefits of having regular physical activity once a day and having healthy foods. All children were followed up for about four months and anthropometrics and biochemical tests were repeated. Data was analyzed using SPSS16.
A total number of 412 children (245 girls and 167 boys) were divided into four age groups of under 6, 6-9, 10-13, and 14-18 years old. Baseline anthropometric measures were significantly higher in boys. However, there was no difference between boys and girls in baseline lipid profile. Children's body mass index (BMI) z-score increased in all age groups except for 14-18 year-old boys. In boys older than 10 years, there were significant reductions in LDL-C and TC. In girls over 10 years of age, there was a significant increase in HDL-C. Although anthropometric measurements did not change in children (except for 14-18 year-old-boys), there was a significant reduction in children's lipid profile after the study.
Our study showed that although one session of interventional education had no significant effects on children's anthropometric measurements, it could change their lipid profile. Moreover, the intervention was more effective on improving lipid profile in children over 10 years of age. Therefore, effective interventional strategies must be invented and implemented on children based on their age group.
PMCID: PMC3557010  PMID: 23359278
Children Obesity; Education; Anthropometry; Lipid Profile; Lifestyle
2.  The Health Initiative Program for Kids (HIP Kids): effects of a 1-year multidisciplinary lifestyle intervention on adiposity and quality of life in obese children and adolescents - a longitudinal pilot intervention study 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14(1):296.
Though recent data suggest that multidisciplinary outpatient interventions can have a positive effect on childhood obesity, it is still unclear which program components are most beneficial and how they affect quality of life (QoL). The aim of this study was to determine if a 1-year multidisciplinary, family-centered outpatient intervention based on social cognitive theory would be effective in (i) preventing further increases in BMI and BMI z-score, and (ii) improving QoL in obese children and adolescents.
Obese children and adolescents 8–17 years of age and their families participated in this 1-year longitudinal pilot intervention study. The intervention consisted of fifteen 90-minute educational sessions led by a dietitian, exercise specialist, and social worker. Anthropometric measures, body composition, and QoL (Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0), were assessed at baseline, 3 months, and 12 months. Laboratory values were measured at baseline and 12 months. The primary outcome measures were change in BMI and BMI z-score, secondary outcome measures included change in QoL and body composition. A paired sample t-test was used to assess within-group differences and 95% confidence intervals were reported for the mean differences.
42 obese children and adolescents (21 girls) completed the 1-year intervention (mean age 12.8 ± 3.14 years). Mean baseline BMI was 31.96 ± 5.94 kg/m2 and BMI z-score was +2.19 ± 0.34. Baseline QoL (self-assessments and parental assessments) was impaired: mean baseline scores were 74.5 ± 16.5 and 63.7 ± 19.4 for physical functioning and 69.0 ± 14.9 and 64.0 ± 18.3 for emotional functioning, respectively. At 12 months, BMI z-score had decreased (−0.07 ± 0.11, 95% CI: −0.11 to −0.04). BMI (0.80 ± 1.57 kg/m2, 95% CI 0.31 to 1.29) and fat-free mass (4.02 ± 6.27 kg, 95% CI 1.90 to 6.14) increased, but % body fat and waist circumference did not. Both the parent-reported physical (11.3 ± 19.2, 95% CI 4.7 to 17.9) and emotional (7.7 ± 15.7, 95% CI 2.3 to 13.0) functioning QoL scores and the children's self-reported physical (5.3 ± 17.1, 95% CI 0.5 to 11.1) and emotional (7.9 ± 14.3, 95% CI 3.2 to 12.7) functioning scores significantly improved.
Following a 1-year intervention, the participants’ BMI z-scores and QoL improved, while other adiposity-related measures of body composition remained unchanged.
Trial registration
UMIN Clinical Trials Registry UMIN000015622.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12887-014-0296-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4263062  PMID: 25475951
Obesity; Overweight; Behavior modification; Family-centered; BMI z-score; Nutrition; Pediatric; Outpatient; Childhood; Youth
3.  Anthropometric indices associated with dyslipidemia in obese children and adolescents: a retrospective study in isfahan 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2011;7(1):31-39.
Central obesity is an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Preventive interventions from childhood are necessary due to the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity. Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), waist to hip ratio (WHR) and waist to height ratio (WSR) are anthropometric indices for measurement of obesity. This study aimed to assess the association between these anthropometric indices and dyslipidemia in obese children and adolescents.
This retrospective study was done on the records of 2064 obese children and adolescents aged 6-18 years at the obesity clinic, in Isfahan Cardiovascular Research center. Age, gender, weight, height, WC, hip circumference (HC), triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), Fasting blood sugar (FBS), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and systolic blood pressure (SBP) were taken from patients’ record. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve and Pearson correlation were used to analyze the data.
2064 girls and boys aged 6-18 years were divided into 3 age groups of 6-9.9 years, 10-13.9 years and 14-18 years. Prevalence of high LDL-C, TC, TG, FBS, SBP, DBP and low HDL-C was higher among the boys compared to the girls. There was a significant association between TC, LDL-C, TG and FBS with BMI, WC, WHR and WSR. However, no significant correlation was seen between HDL-C and the four anthropometric indices.
Our study showed a significant correlation between BMI, WC and WSR with high levels of TC, TG and LDL-C in children and adolescents. Correlation between WHR and dyslipidemia in this study was significant but its predictive value was weaker than other three indices.
PMCID: PMC3347839  PMID: 22577442
Body Mass Index; Waist Circumference; Waist to Hip Ratio; Waist to Height Ratio; Dyslipidemia; Children; Adolescents
4.  Pregnancy Weight Gain and Childhood Body Weight: A Within-Family Comparison 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(10):e1001521.
David Ludwig and colleagues examine the within-family relationship between pregnancy weight gain and the offspring's childhood weight gain, thereby reducing the influence of genes and environment.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Excessive pregnancy weight gain is associated with obesity in the offspring, but this relationship may be confounded by genetic and other shared influences. We aimed to examine the association of pregnancy weight gain with body mass index (BMI) in the offspring, using a within-family design to minimize confounding.
Methods and Findings
In this population-based cohort study, we matched records of all live births in Arkansas with state-mandated data on childhood BMI collected in public schools (from August 18, 2003 to June 2, 2011). The cohort included 42,133 women who had more than one singleton pregnancy and their 91,045 offspring. We examined how differences in weight gain that occurred during two or more pregnancies for each woman predicted her children's BMI and odds ratio (OR) of being overweight or obese (BMI≥85th percentile) at a mean age of 11.9 years, using a within-family design. For every additional kg of pregnancy weight gain, childhood BMI increased by 0.0220 (95% CI 0.0134–0.0306, p<0.0001) and the OR of overweight/obesity increased by 1.007 (CI 1.003–1.012, p = 0.0008). Variations in pregnancy weight gain accounted for a 0.43 kg/m2 difference in childhood BMI. After adjustment for birth weight, the association of pregnancy weight gain with childhood BMI was attenuated but remained statistically significant (0.0143 kg/m2 per kg of pregnancy weight gain, CI 0.0057–0.0229, p = 0.0007).
High pregnancy weight gain is associated with increased body weight of the offspring in childhood, and this effect is only partially mediated through higher birth weight. Translation of these findings to public health obesity prevention requires additional study.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Childhood obesity has become a worldwide epidemic. For example, in the United States, the number of obese children has more than doubled in the past 30 years. 7% of American children aged 6–11 years were obese in 1980, compared to nearly 18% in 2010. Because of the rising levels of obesity, the current generation of children may have a shorter life span than their parents for the first time in 200 years.
Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health. The initial problems are usually psychological. Obese children often experience discrimination, leading to low self-esteem and depression. Their physical health also suffers. They are more likely to be at risk of cardiovascular disease from high cholesterol and high blood pressure. They may also develop pre-diabetes or diabetes type II. In the long-term, obese children tend to become obese adults, putting them at risk of premature death from stroke, heart disease, or cancer.
There are many factors that lead to childhood obesity and they often act in combination. A major risk factor, especially for younger children, is having at least one obese parent. The challenge lies in unravelling the complex links between the genetic and environmental factors that are likely to be involved.
Why Was This Study Done?
Several studies have shown that a child's weight is influenced by his/her mother's weight before pregnancy and her weight gain during pregnancy. An obese mother, or a mother who puts on more pregnancy weight than average, is more likely to have an obese child.
One explanation for the effects of pregnancy weight gain is that the mother's overeating directly affects the baby's development. It may change the baby's brain and metabolism in such a way as to increase the child's long-term risk of obesity. Animal studies have confirmed that the offspring of overfed rats show these kinds of physiological changes. However, another possible explanation is that mother and baby share a similar genetic make-up and environment so that a child becomes obese from inheriting genetic risk factors, and growing up in a household where being overweight is the norm.
The studies in humans that have been carried out to date have not been able to distinguish between these explanations. Some have given conflicting results. The aim of this study was therefore to look for evidence of links between pregnancy weight gain and children's weight, using an approach that would separate the impact of genetic and environmental factors from a direct effect on the developing baby.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers examined data from the population of the US state of Arkansas recorded between 2003 and 2011. They looked at the health records of over 42,000 women who had given birth to more than one child during this period. This gave them information about how much weight the women had gained during each of their pregnancies. The researchers also looked at the school records of the children, over 91,000 in total, which included the children's body mass index (BMI, which factors in both height and weight). They analyzed the data to see if there was a link between the mothers' pregnancy weight gain and the child's BMI at around 12 years of age. Most importantly, they looked at these links within families, comparing children born to the same mother. The rationale for this approach was that these children would share a similar genetic make-up and would have grown up in similar environments. By taking genetics and environment into account in this manner, any remaining evidence of an impact of pregnancy weight gain on the children's BMI would have to be explained by other factors.
The results showed that the amount of weight each mother gained in pregnancy predicted her children's BMI and the likelihood of her children being overweight or obese. For every additional kg the mother gained during pregnancy, the children's BMI increased by 0.022. The children of mothers who put on the most weight had a BMI that was on average 0.43 higher than the children whose mothers had put on the least weight.
The study leaves some questions unanswered, including whether the mother's weight before pregnancy makes a difference to their children's BMI. The researchers were not able to obtain these measurements, nor the weight of the fathers. There may have also been other factors that weren't measured that might explain the links that were found.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study shows that mothers who gain excessive weight during pregnancy increase the risk of their child becoming obese. This appears to be partly due to a direct effect on the developing baby.
These results represent a significant public health concern, even though the impact on an individual basis is relatively small. They could contribute to several hundred thousand cases of childhood obesity worldwide. Importantly, they also suggest that some cases could be prevented by measures to limit excessive weight gain during pregnancy. Such an approach could prove effective, as most mothers will not want to damage their child's health, and might therefore be highly motivated to change their behavior. However, because inadequate weight gain during pregnancy can also adversely affect the developing fetus, it will be essential for women to receive clear information about what constitutes optimal weight gain during pregnancy.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide Childhood Obesity Facts
The UK National Health Service article “How much weight will I put on during my pregnancy?” provides information on pregnancy and weight gain and links to related resources
PMCID: PMC3794857  PMID: 24130460
5.  Infant feeding in Sweden: Socio-demographic determinants and associations with adiposity in childhood and adolescence 
Recent reviews and meta-analyses conclude that breastfeeding constitutes a small but consistent protective effect against obesity or higher values of body mass index (BMI) in children, though in some studies this effect was weakened after adjustment for potential confounders. The aim of this study was to explore the socio-demographic determinants of the duration of breastfeeding in Sweden and the associations between breastfeeding duration and adiposity in childhood and adolescence.
This was a cross-sectional study of Swedish children. Height, weight and waist circumference were measured and the sum of five skin fold measurements were obtained in 1137 9- and 15-year old children. Breastfeeding data were retrospectively obtained from the medical records for 812 (71.4%) children. Multiple ordinal logistic regression was applied to study individual effects of the maternal characteristics on the duration of breastfeeding. The relationship between children's anthropometric characteristics and duration of breastfeeding was studied by multiple linear regression. Associations between the odds of being overweight or obese and the duration of breastfeeding were studied by multiple logistic regression. Both linear and logistic models were adjusted for children's age, gender, birth weight, maternal education and parental BMI in 1998 as well as maternal age and smoking status at childbirth.
Maternal education was positively associated with the duration of breastfeeding in both 1983 and 1989. Non-smoking mothers were more likely to breastfeed longer than smokers in 1989 (OR = 1.9, 95%CI: 1.3, 3.0). Fifteen-year old children breastfed for shorter than 2 months had 1.2 kg/m2 (95%CI: 0.1, 2.4) higher BMI, 3.2 cm (95%CI: 0.2, 6.2) higher waist circumference and 10.6 mm (95%CI: 1.7, 19.6) higher sum of five skin fold measurements compared to those breastfed for 6 months or longer when adjusted for children's characteristics and maternal characteristics in 1998. Adjustment for maternal age and smoking status at childbirth weakened these associations to non-significant levels (0.9 kg/m2, 95%CI: -0.4, 2.1; 1.4 cm, 95%CI: -1.5, 4.4 and 5.1 mm, 95%CI: -4.0, 14.2, respectively). In the 9-year olds, the associations were less pronounced, but in the same direction. No trends between duration of breastfeeding and children's anthropometric characteristics were observed in any of the age groups.
Maternal education and smoking were significant predictors of breastfeeding duration in Sweden in the 1980s. Associations with measures of adiposity were observed only in 15-year old children between the children with shortest and longest breastfeeding duration, which were weakened after adjustment for maternal characteristics at childbirth.
PMCID: PMC2553767  PMID: 18793452
6.  Waist circumference, waist-hip ratio and waist-height ratio percentiles and central obesity among Pakistani children aged five to twelve years 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:105.
Central obesity has been associated with the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease in children and anthropometric indices predictive of central obesity include waist circumference (WC), waist-hip ratio (WHR) and waist-height ratio (WHtR). South Asian children have higher body fat distribution in the trunk region but the literature regarding WC and related indices is scarce in this region. The study was aimed to provide age- and gender-specific WC, WHR and WHtR smoothed percentiles, and to explore prevalence and correlates of central obesity, among Pakistani children aged five to twelve years.
A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted with a representative multistage random cluster sample of 1860 primary school children aged five to twelve years in Lahore, Pakistan. Smoothed percentile curves were constructed for WC, WHR and WHtR by the LMS method. Central obesity was defined as having both age- and gender-specific WC percentile ≥90th and WHtR ≥0.5. Chi-square test was used as the test of trend. Multivariate logistic regression was used to quantify the independent predictors of central obesity and adjusted odds ratios (aOR) with 95% CI were obtained. Linear regression was used to explore the independent determinants of WC and WHtR. Statistical significance was considered at P < 0.05.
First ever age- and gender-specific smoothed WC, WHR and WHtR reference curves for Pakistani children aged five to twelve years are presented. WC increased with age among both boys and girls. Fiftieth WC percentile curves for Pakistani children were higher as compared to those for Hong Kong and British children, and were lower as compared to those for Iranian, German and Swiss children. WHR showed a plateau pattern among boys while plateau among girls until nine years of age and decreased afterwards. WHtR was age-independent among both boys and girls, and WHtR cut-off of ≥0.5 for defining central obesity corresponded to 85th WHtR percentile irrespective of age and gender. Twelve percent children (95% CI 10.1-13.0) had a WC ≥90th percentile and 16.5% children (95% CI 14.7-18.1) had a WHtR ≥0.5 while 11% children (95% CI 8.9-11.6) had both WC ≥90th percentile and WHtR ≥0.5. Significant predictors of central obesity included higher grade, urban area with high socioeconomic status (SES), high-income neighborhood and higher parental education. Children studying in higher grade (aOR 5.11, 95% CI 1.76-14.85) and those living in urban area with high SES (aOR 82.34, 95% CI 15.76-430.31) showed a significant independent association. Urban area with high SES and higher parental education showed a significant independent association with higher WC and higher WHtR while higher grade showed a significant independent association with higher WC.
Comprehensive worldwide reference values are needed to define central obesity and the present study is the first one to report anthropometric indices predictive of central obesity for Pakistani school-aged children. Eleven percent children were centrally obese and strong predictors included higher grade, urban area with high SES and higher parental education. These findings support the need for developing a National strategy for childhood obesity and implementing targeted interventions, prioritizing the higher social class and involving communities.
PMCID: PMC3239239  PMID: 22104025
7.  The Use of Obesity Indicators for the Prediction of Hypertension Risk among Youth in the United Arab Emirates 
Obesity is a significant risk factor for metabolic disorders including increase in blood pressure. Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) and Waist/Hip ratio (WHR) are simple and effective indicators of obesity. The objectives of this study were to examine the relationships between obesity anthropometric indicators and hypertension and to identify the best anthropometric indicator/s that can predict hypertension risk among youth in the UAE.
A 110 first year students in a Medical University in Ajman, UAE, during the year 2009–2010 were included in a cross-sectional study. The height, weight, WC, hip circumference and blood pressure were measured and the BMI and WHR were calculated for each student and used in the analyses.
The mean values for BMI, WC, hip circumference and WHR, were significantly higher in the Pre/Hypertensive group compared to normal blood pressure group. The risk of Pre/ hypertension was significantly increased by 4.3 times for participants who had general obesity (BMI≥ 30) or abdominal obesity (identified from high WC). Highly significant correlations were noticed between systolic and diastolic blood pressure and all anthropometric indicators except that for Hip circumference and systolic blood pressure. Step-wise linear regression model showed that when all obesity indicators were studied together, the waist circumference was the only indicator which showed significant relationship with both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Waist circumference is the best anthropometric indicator that can predict hypertension risk among youth in the UAE.
PMCID: PMC3481645  PMID: 23113084
Hypertension; Youth; Obesity indicators
8.  Preschoolers’ parent-rated health disparities are strongly associated with measures of adiposity in the Lifeways cohort study children 
BMJ Open  2014;4(7):e005328.
To examine the relationship between lifecourse factors from preschoolers’ microecosystem and their parent-reported (mother-reported) health (PRH), following them prospectively from preconception to age 5 years. To investigate if preschoolers’ body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference were associated with preschoolers’ PRH when controlled for lifecourse predictors.
Lifeways cross-generation cohort study.
Of 1082 families, 62% mothers responded on a health and lifestyle questionnaire at follow-up. Food frequency, BMI and waist circumference were measured. There were 547 family data sets available for analysis of children's PRH.
Main outcome measure
Mother-reported children's PRH at age 5. Associations with child's individual and familial exposures from preconception to age 5 years examined using logistic regression.
In univariate analysis, relatively positive rating of children's PRH were associated with children's lower intake of fats (OR (95% CI) 2.2 (1.1 to 4.3)), higher intake of fruits/vegetables (OR (95% CI) 2.2 (1.1 to 4.3)); as well as familial socioeconomic characteristics {higher household income (OR (95% CI) 3.0 (1.6 to 5.9)), non-entitlement to means-tested healthcare (OR (95% CI) 2.1 (1.0 to 4.3)), mothers’ higher education (OR (95% CI) 1.9 (1.0 to 3.6))}, psychosocial characteristics {father's participation in study (OR (95% CI) 2.1 (1.0 to 4.3)), mothers’ perceiving better support from partner (OR (95% CI) 2.3 (1.2 to 4.3)), children (OR (95% CI) 1.9 (1.0 to 3.7)) or relatives (OR (95% CI) 2.2 (1.1 to 4.1))}, parents’ lifestyle {mothers’ lower intake of energy (OR (95% CI) 2.2 (1.1 to 4.3)), fathers’ non-smoking status (OR (95% CI) 2.2 (1.1 to 4.4))} and parents’ health {mothers’ self-rated health relatively positive (OR (95% CI) 5.1 (2.6 to 9.9)), fathers’ self-rated health relatively positive (OR (95% CI) 3.0 (1.5 to 6.0))}.
In multivariable analysis (χ2=34.2, df=21, N=303, R2 = 0.26, p<0.05), one of the two strong predictors of children's relatively positive PRH was child not being obese by International Obesity Task Force classification (OR (95% CI) 5.5 (1.4 to 21.0)), observed also using BMI (kg/m2; OR (95% CI) 0.73 (0.58 to 0.93)) or waist circumference (cm; OR (95% CI) 0.89 (0.81 to 0.98)) as continuous variables. The other significant predictor was mothers’ self-rated health relatively positive (OR (95% CI) 4.2 (1.5 to 12.2)).
Preschoolers’ health is adversely associated with obesity and this is independent of lifecourse and social and environmental inequalities. The findings suggest that reducing childhood obesity and improving maternal health may be useful ways to improve child's global health.
PMCID: PMC4120306  PMID: 25052171
Lifecourse; self-rated health; obesity; BMI; waist circumference; preschool children
9.  Earlier Mother's Age at Menarche Predicts Rapid Infancy Growth and Childhood Obesity 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(4):e132.
Early menarche tends to be preceded by rapid infancy weight gain and is associated with increased childhood and adult obesity risk. As age at menarche is a heritable trait, we hypothesised that age at menarche in the mother may in turn predict her children's early growth and obesity risk.
Methods and Findings
We tested associations between mother's age at menarche, mother's adult body size and obesity risk, and her children's growth and obesity risk in 6,009 children from the UK population-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) birth cohort who had growth and fat mass at age 9 y measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. A subgroup of 914 children also had detailed infancy and childhood growth data. In the mothers, earlier menarche was associated with shorter adult height (by 0.64 cm/y), increased weight (0.92 kg/y), and body mass index (BMI, 0.51 kg/m2/y; all p < 0.001). In contrast, in her children, earlier mother's menarche predicted taller height at 9 y (by 0.41 cm/y) and greater weight (0.80 kg/y), BMI (0.29 kg/m2/y), and fat mass index (0.22 kg/m2/year; all p < 0.001). Children in the earliest mother's menarche quintile (≤11 y) were more obese than the oldest quintile (≥15 y) (OR, 2.15, 95% CI 1.46 to 3.17; p < 0.001, adjusted for mother's education and BMI). In the subgroup, children in the earliest quintile showed faster gains in weight (p < 0.001) and height (p < 0.001) only from birth to 2 y, but not from 2 to 9 y (p = 0.3–0.8).
Earlier age at menarche may be a transgenerational marker of a faster growth tempo, characterised by rapid weight gain and growth, particularly during infancy, and leading to taller childhood stature, but likely earlier maturation and therefore shorter adult stature. This growth pattern confers increased childhood and adult obesity risks.
Earlier age at menarche may be a transgenerational marker of faster growth, particularly during infancy, leading to taller childhood stature but earlier maturation and hence shorter adult stature.
Editors' Summary
Childhood obesity is a rapidly growing problem. Twenty-five years ago, overweight children were rare. Now, 155 million of the world's children are overweight and 30–45 million are obese. Overweight and obese children—those having a higher than average body mass index (BMI; weight divided by height squared) for their age and sex—are at increased risk of becoming obese adults. Such people are more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems than lean people. Many factors are involved in the burgeoning size of children. Parental obesity, for example, predisposes children to being overweight. In part, this is because parents influence the eating habits of their offspring and the amount of exercise they do. In addition, though, children inherit genetic factors from their parents that make them more likely to put on weight.
Why Was This Study Done?
To prevent childhood obesity, health care professionals need ways to predict which infants are likely to become obese so that they can give parents advice on controlling their children's weight. In girls, early menarche (the start of menstruation) is associated with an increased risk of childhood and adult obesity and tends to be preceded by rapid weight gain in the first two years of life. Because age at menarche is inherited, the researchers in this study have investigated whether mothers' age at menarche predicts rapid growth in infancy and childhood obesity in their offspring using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). In 1991–1992, this study recruited nearly 14,000 children born in Bristol, UK. Since then, the children have been regularly examined to investigate how their environment and genetic inheritance interact to affect their health.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers measured the growth and fat mass of 6,009 children from ALSPAC at 9 years of age. For 914 of these children, the researchers had detailed data on their growth during infancy and early childhood. They then looked for any associations between the mother's age at menarche (as recalled during pregnancy), mother's adult body size, and the children's growth and obesity risk. In the mothers, earlier menarche was associated with shorter adult height and increased weight and BMI. In the children, those whose mothers had earlier menarche were taller and heavier than those whose mothers had a later menarche. They also had a higher BMI and more body fat. The children whose mothers had their first period before they were 11 were twice as likely to be obese as those whose mothers did not menstruate until they were 15 or older. Finally, for the children with detailed early growth data, those whose mothers had the earliest menarche had faster weight and height gains in the first two years of life (but not in the next seven years) than those whose mothers had the latest menarche.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that earlier mother's menarche predicts a faster growth tempo (the speed at which an individual reaches their adult height) in their offspring, which is characterized by rapid weight and height gain during infancy. This faster growth tempo leads to taller childhood stature, earlier sexual maturity, and—because age at puberty determines adult height—shorter adult stature. An inherited growth pattern like this, the researchers write, confers an increased risk of childhood and adult obesity. As with all studies that look for associations between different measurements, these findings will be affected by the accuracy of the measurements—for example, how well the mothers recalled their age at menarche. Furthermore, because puberty, particularly in girls, is associated with an increase in body fat, a high BMI at age nine might indicate imminent puberty rather than a risk of long-standing obesity—further follow-up studies will clarify this point. Nevertheless, the current findings provide a new factor—earlier mother's menarche—that could help health care professionals identify which infants require early growth monitoring to avoid later obesity.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children has a description of the study and results to date
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on overweight and obesity (in English and Spanish)
US Department of Health and Human Services's program, Smallstep Kids, is an interactive site for children about healthy eating (in English and Spanish)
The International Obesity Taskforce has information on obesity and its prevention
The World Heart Federation's Global Prevention Alliance provides details of international efforts to halt the obesity epidemic and its associated chronic diseases
The Child Growth Foundation has information on childhood growth and its measurement
PMCID: PMC1876410  PMID: 17455989
10.  Adiposity among children in Norway by urbanity and maternal education: a nationally representative study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:842.
International research has demonstrated that rural residency is a risk factor for childhood adiposity. The main aim of this study was to investigate the urban-rural gradient in overweight and obesity and whether the association differed by maternal education.
Height, weight and waist circumference (WC) were measured in a nationally representative sample of 3166 Norwegian eight-year-olds in 2010. Anthropometric measures were stratified by area of residence (urbanity) and maternal education. Risk estimates for overweight (including obesity) and waist-to-height ratio ≥0.5 were calculated by log-binomial regression.
Mean BMI and WC and risk estimates of overweight (including obesity) and waist-to-height ratio ≥0.5 were associated with both urbanity and maternal education. These associations were robust after mutual adjustment for each other. Furthermore, there was an indication of interaction between urbanity and maternal education, as trends of mean BMI and WC increased from urban to rural residence among children of low-educated mothers (p = 0.01 for both BMI and WC), whereas corresponding trends for children from higher educational background were non-significant (p > 0.30). However, formal tests of the interaction term urbanity by maternal education were non-significant (p-value for interaction was 0.29 for BMI and 0.31 for WC).
In this nationally representative study, children living rurally and children of low-educated mothers had higher mean BMI and waist circumference than children living in more urban areas and children of higher educated mothers.
PMCID: PMC3847694  PMID: 24028668
Epidemiology; Anthropometry; Waist circumference; Overweight; Obesity; Child; Socioeconomic position; Rural; Urbanity; Public health
11.  Central obesity in Yemeni children: A population based cross-sectional study 
World Journal of Cardiology  2013;5(8):295-304.
AIM: To establish percentile curves and to explore prevalence and correlates of central obesity among Yemeni children in a population based cross-sectional study.
METHODS: A representative sample of 3114 Yemeni children (1564 boys, 1550 girls) aged 6-19 years participating in the HYpertension and Diabetes in Yemen study was studied. Data collection was conducted at home by survey teams composed of two investigators of both genders. Study questionnaire included questions about demographics, lifestyle, and medical history. Anthropometric measurements included body weight, height, waist circumference (WC) and hip circumferences. Waist to hip ratio (WHR) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) were then calculated. Age and gender specific smoothed percentiles of WC, WHR, and WHtR were obtained using lambda-mu-sigma parameters (LMS method). The independent predictors of central obesity defined as (1) WC percentile ≥ 90th; (2) WHtR ≥ 0.5; or (3) WC percentile ≥ 90th and WHtR ≥ 0.5, were identified at multivariate logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, gender, urban/rural location, years of school education, sedentary/active life-style.
RESULTS: Percentile curves for WC, WHR and WHtR are presented. Average WC increased with age for both genders. Boys had a higher WC than girls until early adolescence and thereafter girls had higher values than boys. WHR decreased both in boys and girls until early adolescence. Thereafter while in boys it plateaued in girls it continued to decrease. Mean WHtR decreased until early adolescence with no gender related differences and thereafter increased more in girls than in boys towards adult age. Prevalence of central obesity largely varied according to the definition used which was 10.9% for WC ≥ 90th percentile, 18.3% for WHtR ≥ 0.5, and 8.6% when fulfilling both criteria. At adjusted logistic regression WC ≥ 90th percentiles and WHtR ≥ 0.5 were less prevalent in rural than in urban areas (OR = 0.52, 95%CI: 0.41-0.67 and 0.66, 0.54-0.79 respectively), being more prevalent in children with sedentary lifestyle rather than an active one (1.52, 95%CI: 1.17-1.98 and 1.42, 95%CI: 1.14-1.75, respectively).
CONCLUSION: Yemeni children central obesity indices percentile curves are presented. Central obesity prevalence varied according to the definition used and was more prevalent in urban sedentary subjects.
PMCID: PMC3761183  PMID: 24009819
Central obesity; Waist circumference; Waist-to-height ratio; Waist to hip ratio; Developing countries
12.  The Effects of an Exercise Program on Anthropometric, Metabolic, and Cardiovascular Parameters in Obese Children 
Korean Circulation Journal  2010;40(4):179-184.
Background and Objectives
Obesity is a chronic disease that requires good eating habits and an active life style. Obesity may start in childhood and continue until adulthood. Severely obese children have complications such as diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension and atherosclerosis. The goal of this study was to determine the effects of exercise programs on anthropometric, metabolic, and cardiovascular parameters in obese children.
Subjects and Methods
Fifty four obese children were included. Anthropometric data such as blood pressures, body mass index (BMI) and obesity index (OI) were measured. Blood glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides, low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), high sensitive-CRP (hs-CRP), brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (BaPWV) and ankle brachial index (ABI) were measured. Physical fitness measurements were done. Obese children were divided into three groups: an aerobic exercise group (n=16), a combined exercise group (n=20), and a control group (n=18). Obese children exercised in each program for 10 weeks while those in the control group maintained their former lifestyle. After 10 weeks, anthropometric data and cardiovascular parameters were compared with the data obtained before the exercise program.
LDL-C, waist circumference, and systolic blood pressure decreased significantly in the aerobic exercise group compared to the control group (p<0.05). Waist circumference and systolic blood pressure decreased significantly in the combined exercise group compared to controls (p<0.05). Physical fitness level increased significantly after the exercise programs (p<0.05 vs. control). PWV did not show a significant change after exercise.
A short-term exercise program can play an important role in decreasing BMI, blood pressure, waist circumference, LDL-C and in improving physical fitness. Future investigations are now necessary to clarify the effectiveness of exercise on various parameters.
PMCID: PMC2859335  PMID: 20421958
Obesity; Exercise; Cardiovascular disease
13.  Genetic Markers of Adult Obesity Risk Are Associated with Greater Early Infancy Weight Gain and Growth 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(5):e1000284.
Ken Ong and colleagues genotyped children from the ALSPAC birth cohort and showed an association between greater early infancy gains in weight and length and genetic markers for adult obesity risk.
Genome-wide studies have identified several common genetic variants that are robustly associated with adult obesity risk. Exploration of these genotype associations in children may provide insights into the timing of weight changes leading to adult obesity.
Methods and Findings
Children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) birth cohort were genotyped for ten genetic variants previously associated with adult BMI. Eight variants that showed individual associations with childhood BMI (in/near: FTO, MC4R, TMEM18, GNPDA2, KCTD15, NEGR1, BDNF, and ETV5) were used to derive an “obesity-risk-allele score” comprising the total number of risk alleles (range: 2–15 alleles) in each child with complete genotype data (n = 7,146). Repeated measurements of weight, length/height, and body mass index from birth to age 11 years were expressed as standard deviation scores (SDS). Early infancy was defined as birth to age 6 weeks, and early infancy failure to thrive was defined as weight gain between below the 5th centile, adjusted for birth weight. The obesity-risk-allele score showed little association with birth weight (regression coefficient: 0.01 SDS per allele; 95% CI 0.00–0.02), but had an apparently much larger positive effect on early infancy weight gain (0.119 SDS/allele/year; 0.023–0.216) than on subsequent childhood weight gain (0.004 SDS/allele/year; 0.004–0.005). The obesity-risk-allele score was also positively associated with early infancy length gain (0.158 SDS/allele/year; 0.032–0.284) and with reduced risk of early infancy failure to thrive (odds ratio  = 0.92 per allele; 0.86–0.98; p = 0.009).
The use of robust genetic markers identified greater early infancy gains in weight and length as being on the pathway to adult obesity risk in a contemporary birth cohort.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
The proportion of overweight and obese children is increasing across the globe. In the US, the Surgeon General estimates that, compared with 1980, twice as many children and three times the number of adolescents are now overweight. Worldwide, 22 million children under five years old are considered by the World Health Organization to be overweight.
Being overweight or obese in childhood is associated with poor physical and mental health. In addition, childhood obesity is considered a major risk factor for adult obesity, which is itself a major risk factor for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and other chronic conditions.
The most commonly used measure of whether an adult is a healthy weight is body mass index (BMI), defined as weight in kilograms/(height in metres)2. However, adult categories of obese (>30) and overweight (>25) BMI are not directly applicable to children, whose BMI naturally varies as they grow. BMI can be used to screen children for being overweight and or obese but a diagnosis requires further information.
Why Was This Study Done?
As the numbers of obese and overweight children increase, a corresponding rise in future numbers of overweight and obese adults is also expected. This in turn is expected to lead to an increasing incidence of poor health. As a result, there is great interest among health professionals in possible pathways between childhood and adult obesity. It has been proposed that certain periods in childhood may be critical for the development of obesity.
In the last few years, ten genetic variants have been found to be more common in overweight or obese adults. Eight of these have also been linked to childhood BMI and/or obesity. The authors wanted to identify the timing of childhood weight changes that may be associated with adult obesity. Knowledge of obesity risk genetic variants gave them an opportunity to do so now, without following a set of children to adulthood.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The authors analysed data gathered from a subset of 7,146 singleton white European children enrolled in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) study, which is investigating associations between genetics, lifestyle, and health outcomes for a group of children in Bristol whose due date of birth fell between April 1991 and December 1992. They used knowledge of the children's genetic makeup to find associations between an obesity risk allele score—a measure of how many of the obesity risk genetic variants a child possessed—and the children's weight, height, BMI, levels of body fat (at nine years old), and rate of weight gain, up to age 11 years.
They found that, at birth, children with a higher obesity risk allele score were not any heavier, but in the immediate postnatal period they were less likely to be in the bottom 5% of the population for weight gain (adjusted for birthweight), often termed “failure to thrive.” At six weeks of age, children with a higher obesity risk allele score tended to be longer and heavier, even allowing for weight at birth.
After six weeks of age, the obesity risk allele score was not associated with any further increase in length/height, but it was associated with a more rapid weight gain between birth and age 11 years. BMI is derived from height and weight measurements, and the association between the obesity risk allele score and BMI was weak between birth and age three-and-a-half years, but after that age the association with BMI increased rapidly. By age nine, children with a higher obesity risk allele score tended to be heavier and taller, with more fat on their bodies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The combined obesity allele risk score is associated with higher rates of weight gain and adult obesity, and so the authors conclude that weight gain and growth even in the first few weeks after birth may be the beginning of a pathway of greater adult obesity risk.
A study that tracks a population over time can find associations but it cannot show cause and effect. In addition, only a relatively small proportion (1.7%) of the variation in BMI at nine years of age is explained by the obesity risk allele score.
The authors' method of finding associations between childhood events and adult outcomes via genetic markers of risk of disease as an adult has a significant advantage: the authors did not have to follow the children themselves to adulthood, so their findings are more likely to be relevant to current populations. Despite this, this research does not yield advice for parents how to reduce their children's obesity risk. It does suggest that “failure to thrive” in the first six weeks of life is not simply due to a lack of provision of food by the baby's caregiver but that genetic factors also contribute to early weight gain and growth.
The study looked at the combined obesity risk allele score and the authors did not attempt to identify which individual alleles have greater or weaker associations with weight gain and overweight or obesity. This would require further research based on far larger numbers of babies and children. The findings may also not be relevant to children in other types of setting because of the effects of different nutrition and lifestyles.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Further information is available on the ALSPAC study
The UK National Health Service and other partners provide guidance on establishing a healthy lifestyle for children and families in their Change4Life programme
The International Obesity Taskforce is a global network of expertise and the advocacy arm of the International Association for the Study of Obesity. It works with the World Health Organization, other NGOs, and stakeholders and provides information on overweight and obesity
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US provide guidance and tips on maintaining a healthy weight, including BMI calculators in both metric and Imperial measurements for both adults and children. They also provide BMI growth charts for boys and girls showing how healthy ranges vary for each sex at with age
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health provides growth charts for weight and length/height from birth to age 4 years that are based on WHO 2006 growth standards and have been adapted for use in the UK
The CDC Web site provides information on overweight and obesity in adults and children, including definitions, causes, and data
The CDC also provide information on the role of genes in causing obesity.
The World Health Organization publishes a fact sheet on obesity, overweight and weight management, including links to childhood overweight and obesity
Wikipedia includes an article on childhood obesity (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC2876048  PMID: 20520848
14.  Parental education associations with children’s body composition: mediation effects of energy balance-related behaviors within the ENERGY-project 
It is well known that the prevalence of overweight and obesity is considerably higher among youth from lower socio-economic families, but there is little information about the role of some energy balance-related behaviors in the association between socio-economic status and childhood overweight and obesity. The objective of this paper was to assess the possible mediation role of energy balance-related behaviors in the association between parental education and children’s body composition.
Data were obtained from the cross sectional study of the “EuropeaN Energy balance Research to prevent excessive weight Gain among Youth” (ENERGY) project. 2121 boys and 2516 girls aged 10 to 12 from Belgium, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia and Spain were included in the analyses. Data were obtained via questionnaires assessing obesity related dietary, physical activity and sedentary behaviors and basic anthropometric objectively measured indicators (weight, height, waist circumference). The possible mediating effect of sugared drinks intake, breakfast consumption, active transportation to school, sports participation, TV viewing, computer use and sleep duration in the association between parental education and children’s body composition was explored via MacKinnon’s product-of-coefficients test in single and multiple mediation models. Two different body composition indicators were included in the models, namely Body Mass Index and waist circumference.
The association between parental education and children’s body composition was partially mediated by breakfast consumption, sports participation, TV viewing and computer use. Additionally, a suppression effect was found for sugared drinks intake. No mediation effect was found for active transportation and sleep duration. The significant mediators explained a higher proportion of the association between parental education and waist circumference compared to the association between parental education and BMI.
Tailored overweight and obesity prevention strategies in low SES preadolescent populations should incorporate specific messages focusing on the importance of encouraging daily breakfast consumption, increasing sports participation and decreasing TV viewing and computer use. However, longitudinal research to support these findings is needed.
PMCID: PMC3695820  PMID: 23800170
Mediation analysis; Body composition; Parental education; Childhood obesity; Energy balance-related behaviors
15.  The relationship between selected socioeconomic factors and basic anthropometric parameters of school-aged children and adolescents in Poland 
European Journal of Pediatrics  2013;173(1):45-52.
The aim of the present paper was to examine the associations between anthropometric parameters, overweight, obesity, and socioeconomic status (SES) of children and adolescents in Poland. Data were collected in the “Elaboration of reference blood pressure ranges for children and adolescents in Poland” OLAF-PL0080 (OLAF) study, a nationally representative survey on growth and blood pressure references for children and adolescents aged 7–18 years. Body height, weight, and waist circumference (WC) were measured, and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Anthropometric parameters were standardized for age and gender and expressed as z-scores. Statistical analyses were conducted on 10,950 children and adolescents whose parents provided socioeconomic questionnaires. The associations between anthropometric parameters, overweight (including obesity), and SES were analyzed using multiple regression and multiple logistic regression. The height was positively associated with higher levels of maternal education and, in the case of girls, also with paternal education. Higher level of income per capita, but not the highest, was associated with higher weight, BMI, and WC and, in the case of boys, also tall stature. The height, weight, BMI, and waist were significantly inversely associated with number of children in the family. Lower number of children in the family and higher level of income, but not the highest, increased odds of overweight and obesity. In the case of girls, the odds of obesity decreased with paternal higher level of education. Conclusion: The social position associated with parents’ education, better environment, and SES correlate with body height and weight of a child. However, it is associated with higher risk of overweight and abdominal obesity.
PMCID: PMC3890069  PMID: 23918294
Growth; Children; Socioeconomic factors; Overweight; Obesity
16.  Effects on Metabolic Health after a 1-Year-Lifestyle Intervention in Overweight and Obese Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
Objective. To evaluate the effect of a family-based intervention on anthropometric and metabolic markers in overweight and obese children. Methods. Overweight or obese 8–12 years olds (n = 93) were randomized into intervention or control groups. The intervention group participated in a program aiming for lifestyle changes regarding food habits and physical activity. Anthropometric measures and venous blood samples were collected from all children at baseline and after 1 year. Results. BMI z-scores decreased in both groups, 0.22 (P = 0.002) and 0.23 (P = 0.003) in intervention and control group, respectively, during the 1-year study, but there was no difference in BMI between the groups at 1-year measurement (P = 0.338). After 1 year, there was a significant difference in waist circumference, waist/hip ratio, and apolipoprotein B/A1 ratio between intervention and control group. Conclusions. The intervention had limited effects on anthropometrics and metabolic markers, which emphasizes the need of preventing childhood overweight and obesity.
PMCID: PMC3176428  PMID: 21941639
17.  Family-Based Intervention for Controlling Childhood Obesity: An Experience Among Iranian Children 
Treatment of childhood obesity is difficult, and successful management may differ in various areas with different cultural backgrounds. The present study was conducted to assess the effect of lifestyle modification family-based intervention in young Iranian children.
This field trial study was conducted in 2011 among 156 obese children in Tehran, Iran. They were randomly assigned to intervention and control groups. At baseline, anthropometric measurements and biochemical analysis were performed. The second and third phases consisted of training sessions for parents of the intervention group. At the fourth phase, there was no training program. In all four phases, questionnaires on demographic characteristics, lifestyle and food frequency were completed by interviewing with mothers, and biochemical analysis was repeated at the end of the study.
During the second and third phases of the study, weight and height increased significantly in both groups, although weight increased more slowly, and waist and hip circumferences was decreased in the intervention group. Serum triglycerides and cholesterol decreased significantly in the intervention group (P < 0.05). Analysis of food group consumption showed that in the intervention group, not only consumption of milk, dairy and nuts group increased significantly but also the corresponding figure decreased for bread and cereals, sugar and confectionery ingredients; moreover, the family's oil and fat consumption decreased significantly (P < 0.05). Watching TV and playing on the computer decreased significantly in the intervention group; however, walking time increased significantly in both groups (P < 0.05).
The family-based lifestyle program had limited but desirable effects on anthropometric and metabolic outcomes of the obese children. We suggest that a longer period of intervention may have more favorable results.
PMCID: PMC3634176  PMID: 23626894
Children; family-based intervention; obesity
18.  Prevalance of Obesity in Children with Cerebral Palsy 
Introduction: Obesity are epidemic among children and adolescents. There is worldwide tendency of increasing prevalence of obesity in children. Cerebral palsy (CP) is leading cause of childhood disability.studies have proposed mechanism of children with disability leading towards obesity and related health risks. So this study is aimed at determining whether such trend of obesity exists in children with CP in terms of BMI and WHR.
Study Design: Cross -sectional study.
Materials and Methods: Participants: 40 children diagnosed as CP age 2-18 years, GMFCS I-IV.
Procedure: BMI; kg/m2 was calculated from height and weight. WHR was calculated by measuring waist circumference and hip circumference. BMI percentiles were reported according to sex-specific age group standards for growth set by the WHO growth charts.
Results: Out of total CP subjects 40% were found to be underweight, 45%, 7.5% and 7.5% were found to be normal, overweight and obese respectively according to BMI. Whereas 20%, 20% 60% were found to be at high risk, moderate risk and high risk of obesity respectively according to WHR.
Conclusion: In our patient population, analysis of BMI and WHR suggests that children with CP have a high rate of overweight and are at risk of overweight, particularly of central obesity.
PMCID: PMC4190706  PMID: 25302187
Cerebral palsy; GMFCS; Obesity; WHO growth charts
19.  Is central obesity associated with poorer health and health-related quality of life in primary school children? Cross-sectional results from the Baden-Württemberg Study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:260.
Childhood obesity and its consequences are a growing threat to national economies and health services. The aim of this study was to determine associations between waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) as a measure of central obesity, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and absenteeism of primary school children in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
Cross-sectional data from 1888 first and second grade children (7.1±0.6 years) participating in the baseline measurements of the Baden-Württemberg Study were analyzed. Parents completed questionnaires including a rating of their children’s HRQoL using KINDLR and EQ5D-Y VAS. Days of absence because of illness, and number of visits to a physician during the last year of school/kindergarten were asked, as well as the number of days parents took off work to care for their sick child. Anthropometric measurements were taken by trained staff. The Mann-Whitney-U test was used for statistical analysis of differences between WHtR groups. Logistic regression models were used to identify factors associated with sick days.
A total of 158 (8.4%) children were centrally obese (WHtR ≥0.5). These children had significantly more sick days (9.05 vs. 6.84, p < 0.001) and visits to a physician (3.58 vs. 2.91, p < 0.05), but not days of parental absence than other children. According to regression analysis, sick days were also associated with age, migration status, physical activity pattern, maternal health awareness and family education level. Parent-rated HRQoL was significantly lower in centrally obese children for the EQ5D-Y VAS (88.1 vs. 91.6, p < 0.001), and the KINDLR subscales ’school’ (79.9 vs. 82.5, p < 0.05) and ’friends’ (75.4 vs. 78.3, p < 0.05), but not for the total score.
Cross-sectional results show higher rates of absence, more visits to a physician and lower HRQoL in children with central obesity. Each missed day at school implies a hazard to academic achievement and each additional visit to a physician is related to higher health care costs. Thus, the negative impact of central obesity is already measurable in primary school children, which emphasizes the urgent need for early delivery of health promotion and targeted prevention.
PMCID: PMC3652747  PMID: 23521780
20.  Relationship of High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein Levels to Anthropometric and other Metabolic Parameters in Indian Children with Simple Overweight and Obesity 
Context: High senstivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) levels correlate well other parameters of obesity related metabolic syndrome (MS) and can be used as predictors of future cardiovascular disease risk. There is limited data on hsCRP levels in Indian children with simple obesity.
Aim: To study the relationship of hsCRP levels with various anthropometric as well as metabolic parameters in children with simple overweight and obesity.
Materials and Methods: This case control study was conducted in Paediatric Endocrinology clinic of a tertiary care hospital in Northern India. Levels of hsCRP were estimated in 100 overweight and obese children (BMI between 85th and 95th percentiles according to age & gender specific CDC 2000 growth charts) aged between 6 and 16 years and in 100 nearly age and sex matched healthy controls. These levels were then correlated to various anthropometric (body mass index, BMI; waist circumference, WC; hip circumference, HC; waist hip ratio, WHR; blood pressure) and biochemical (fasting blood glucose, FBG; total cholesterol, TC; high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, HDL-C; low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, LDL-C; very low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, VLDL-C; triglycerides, TG) parameters.
Results: Mean levels of hsCRP were significantly higher in the study group (3.92±2.20 versus 2.15±1.05 mg/L) as compared to controls. Significantly more (58% versus 10%) subjects in the study group had hsCRP (>3 mg/L). Of all the parameters studied, only BMI showed a positive correlation with hsCRP levels in the study group. Multiple logistic regression analysis for predicting outcome of high hsCRP showed positive correlation with BMI; with every 1 kg/m2 increase in BMI, odds of high hsCRP level were increased by 37% (OR=1.37; 95% CI 1.23-1.53, p-value <0.0001). Mean values of all the biochemical parameters except HDL-C were significantly higher in the study group.
Conclusion: Levels of hsCRP were significantly elevated in overweight and obese children as compared to non-obese children. In addition, these patients also showed abnormalities of lipid and glucose metabolism.
PMCID: PMC4190765  PMID: 25300641
Childhood obesity; Subclinical inflammation; Hscrp levels
21.  High-molecular-weight adiponectin and anthropometric variables among elementary schoolchildren: a population-based cross-sectional study in Japan 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:139.
Studies about the relationship between high-molecular-weight adiponectin (HMW-adn) and anthropometric variables among population-based elementary schoolchildren have been too limited, especially in Japan, where blood collection is not usually performed in the annual health examination at elementary schools. The objective of the present study was to investigate the relationship between HMW-adn and anthropometric variables (body mass index [BMI], percent body fat [%BF], waist circumference [WC], and waist-to-height ratio [WHtR]) among population-based elementary schoolchildren in Japan.
Subjects comprised all fourth-grade schoolchildren (9 or 10 years of age) in the town of Ina, Saitama Prefecture, Japan during 2005–2008 (N = 1675). After excluding 21 subjects because of refusal to participate or incomplete data, data from a total of 1654 subjects (846 boys and 808 girls) were analyzed. The height, weight, %BF, and WC of each subject were measured, while blood samples were drawn from the subjects to measure adiponectin levels (HMW-adn and total adiponectin). Childhood obesity was determined according to the age- and sex-specific cut-off points proposed by the International Obesity Task Force. Spearman’s correlation coefficients between adiponectin levels and anthropometric variables were calculated for each sex.
The anthropometric variables were negatively correlated with HMW-adn in both boys and girls. Correlation coefficients of HMW-adn with anthropometric variables in the obesity group were consistently higher than those in the non-obesity group among both boys and girls. In addition, only WHtR was significantly correlated with HMW-adn regardless of sex and physique (obesity or non-obesity); the correlation coefficient was -0.386 among boys and -0.543 among girls in the obesity group, while it was -0.124 among boys and -0.081 among girls in the non-obesity group.
HMW-adn was negatively correlated with anthropometric variables, while the correlation coefficients of HMW-adn with anthropometric variables in the obesity group were consistently higher than those in the non-obesity group. Moreover, only WHtR was significantly associated with HMW-adn regardless of sex and physique. The results of this study suggested that it is useful to monitor WHtR as a surrogate for HMW-adn among elementary school students, especially obese children.
PMCID: PMC3478987  PMID: 22937905
High-molecular-weight adiponectin; Anthropometric variable; Obesity; Waist-to-height ratio; Children
22.  Long-term effect of lifestyle intervention on adiposity, metabolic parameters, inflammation and physical fitness in obese children: a randomized controlled trial 
Nutrition & Diabetes  2011;1(10):e9-.
Behavioral lifestyle intervention, combined with parental involvement, is preferred over standard care or self-help in childhood obesity. The short-term results of such interventions are promising, but long-term follow-up results are equivocal.
The objective of the present study was the short (3 months) and long-term (1 and 2 years follow-up) effect evaluation of a family-based multidisciplinary cognitive behavioral lifestyle intervention on markers of adiposity, metabolism, inflammation and physical fitness compared with standard care in children with obesity. Also the association between these outcome variables was determined.
In this prospective longitudinal clinical trial, obese children were randomly assigned to a 3-month family-based cognitive behavioral multidisciplinary lifestyle treatment (n=40; body mass index-standard deviation score (BMI-SDS) 4.2±0.7; age; 13.3±2.0 years) or to a control group receiving an initial advice on physical activity and nutrition (n=39; BMI-SDS 4.3±0.6; age 13.1±1.9 years). Anthropometric data, physical fitness, metabolic parameters and inflammatory state were evaluated at baseline, after intervention (at 3 months) and at 1-year follow-up. At 2-year follow-up, anthropometric data and physical fitness were measured in the intervention group.
An intervention effect after 1 year was found for adiposity (P=0.02 for BMI-SDS, P=0.03 for waist circumference (WC)-SDS), physical fitness (absolute measured peak value of oxygen uptake (ml min−1), standardized for age and gender (VO2peak-SDS), P<0.01) and insulin resistance (HOMA-SDS, P=0.04). No significant intervention effect was found for serum lipid profile, high-sensitive C-reactive protein or for adiponectin. At 2-year follow-up, BMI-SDS in the intervention group (n=31) was 3.8±1.2 SDS, significantly less than at baseline (P=0.02).
A positive 1-year follow-up treatment effect was found for adiposity, physical fitness and glucose homeostasis, but not for inflammatory markers. There was a significant long-term treatment effect on adiposity, although almost all children remained obese.
PMCID: PMC3302141  PMID: 23455021
obesity; children; physical fitness; inflammation; insulin resistance
23.  Correlation between Fitness and Fatness in 6-14-year Old Serbian School Children 
Lack of physical activity and/or physical fitness are some reasons epidemiologists suggest for increase in childhood obesity in the last 20 years, with clear correlation between body composition and physical activity and/or physical fitness yet to be determined. The objectives of the study were to (a) investigate the prevalence of overweight and obesity among Serbian school children and (b) determine the relationship between indicators of physical activity and body fatness in Serbian school children aged 6-14 years. The study subjects included a representative sample of Serbian elementary school children (n=1, 121—754 boys and 367 girls—aged 6.2-14.1 years), all of whom were recruited in the OLIMP (Obesity and Physical Activity among Serbian School Children) study. Anthropometric and physical fitness values, including body mass index (BMI), waist-circumference, body-fat, and aerobic capacity, were measured in all the children. Significant differences were found between male and female children regarding the prevalence of obesity (6.8% vs 8.2%, p<0.05, boys and girls respectively). Boys had significantly lower body mass, BMI, waist-circumference, sum of six skinfolds, and body-fat compared to their female counterparts (p<0.05). The highest level of weight, BMI, body-fat, and waist-circumference observed in a 14-year old girl (96.3 kg, 40.5 kg/m2, 54.5%, 91.4 cm respectively) implies the existence of extreme obesity in Serbian school children. The negative relationship between body-fat and maximal oxygen (VO2max) uptake was moderately high (r=-0.76; p<0.05). The study has shown a high prevalence of adiposity among Serbian school children, with a strong negative relationship between aerobic fitness and body fatness. Data of the study emphasize the necessity to identify children with weight problems and to develop early interventions to improve physical activity in children and prevent the increase of childhood obesity.
PMCID: PMC3075053  PMID: 21528790
Body-fat; Cross-sectional studies; Fitness; Girls; Obesity; Serbia
24.  Obesity and its Measurement in a Community-Based Sample of Women with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Arthritis care & research  2011;63(2):261-268.
To determine the prevalence of obesity and evaluate how accurately standard anthropometric measures identify obesity among women with SLE.
Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), height, weight, and waist and hip circumference were collected from 145 women with SLE. Three anthropometric proxies of obesity (body mass index (BMI) ≥30 kg/m2, waist circumference (WC) ≥88 cm, and waist-hip ratio (WHR) ≥0.85) were compared to a DEXA-based obesity criterion. Correspondence between measures was assessed with Cohen’s kappa. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves determined optimal cut-points for each anthropometric measure, relative to DEXA. Framingham cardiovascular risk scores were compared among women who were classified as not obese by both traditional and revised anthropometric definitions, obese by both definitions, and obese only by the revised definition.
28%, 29%, 41%, and 50% were classified as obese by WC, BMI, WHR, and DEXA, respectively. Correspondence between anthropometric and DEXA-based measures was moderate. Women misclassified by anthropometric measures had less truncal fat and more appendicular lean and fat mass. Cut-points were identified for anthropometric measures to better approximate DEXA estimates of percent body fat: BMI ≥26.8 kg/m2, waist circumference ≥84.75 cm., and waist-hip ratio ≥0.80. Framingham risk scores were significantly higher in women classified as obese by either traditional or revised criteria.
A large percentage of this group of women with SLE was obese. Substantial portions of women were misclassified by anthropometric measures. Utility of revised cut-points compared to traditional cut-points in identifying risk of cardiovascular disease or disability remains to be examined in prospective studies, but results from the Framingham risk score analysis suggest that traditional cut-points exclude a significant number of at-risk women with SLE.
PMCID: PMC3010264  PMID: 20824801
25.  Associations between depression and different measures of obesity (BMI, WC, WHtR, WHR) 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:223.
Growing evidence suggests that abdominal obesity is a more important risk factor for the prognosis of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than BMI. Somatic-affective symptoms of depression have also been linked to cardiovascular risk. The relationship between obesity and depression, however, has remained contradictory. Our aim was therefore to relate body mass index (BMI) and different measures for abdominal obesity (waist circumference, WC, waist-to-hip ratio, WHR, waist-to-height ratio, WHtR) to somatic vs. cognitive-affective symptoms of depression.
In a cross-sectional population based study, data on the first N = 5000 participants enrolled in the Gutenberg Health Study (GHS) are reported. To analyze the relationship between depression and obesity, we computed linear regression models with the anthropometric measure (BMI, WC, WHR, WHtR) as the dependent variable and life style factors, cardiovascular risk factors and psychotropic medications as potential confounders of obesity/depression.
We found that only the somatic, but not the cognitive-affective symptoms of depression are consistently positively associated with anthropometric measures of obesity.
We could demonstrate that the somatic-affective symptoms of depression rather than the cognitive-affective symptoms are strongly related to anthropometric measures. This is also true for younger obese starting at the age of 35 years. Our results are in line with previous studies indicating that visceral adipose tissue plays a key role in the relationship between obesity, depression and cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3849983  PMID: 24028572
Obesity; Abdominal obesity; Anthropometric measures; Depression; Somatic-affective symptoms

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