265859 Inter- and intra- generational transmission of obesity: Evaluating parent and child obesity in a new health behavior dataset

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 10:35 AM - 10:50 AM

Mark C. Pachucki, PhD , Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars Program, UCSF Center for Health & Community & UC Berkeley School of Public Health, San Francisco, CA
Michael F. Lovenheim, PhD , Policy Analysis and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Matthew Harding, PhD , Department of Economics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Introduction: Childhood obesity contributes to an elevated risk of later-life obesity and is associated comorbid conditions. While research has demonstrated a clear association between parent and offspring obesity, contributions of social context and sibling composition have not been well-specified. In this paper, we ask how different children within the same family may be affected by parental obesity with a detailed focus on the food environment. Methods: A 2011 web survey of Americans' health behaviors was conducted wherein adults were asked about their own food-related behaviors and their children's health. Data on adult BMI was available for 3663 adults with at least one child under 18 years old, and child obesity is calculated using z-scores. We fit a series of regression models in which the outcome of interest is child obesity status, with parent and sibling obesity as key independent variables. Models adjust for adult (age, frequency of fast-food meals, television/computer meals, stress eating, grocery store proximity, physical activity, subjective social status) and child characteristics (age, fast-food consumption, extra-curricular sports). Results: In households with one child, having an obese parent makes it more likely that the child will be obese (OR: 2.66, SE:0.33, p<0.001). In households with multiple children, having an obese elder sibling is comparatively more predictive of youngest-child obesity (2 children: OR:5.89, SE: 1.22, p<0.001; 3 children: OR:11.2, SE:4.88, p<0.001). Female child obesity is more strongly associated with parent obesity in all sibling configurations. Discussion: These findings suggest that considering offspring composition and elder sibling involvement in childhood obesity interventions may be constructive.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe distributions of obesity status within different family configurations and variation with adult food-related behaviors. 2. Analyze statistical associations between child and parent obesity status. 3. Explore how discerning parent influence from sibling influence can be useful for public health and clinical interventions.

Keywords: Children and Adolescents, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been principal or co-principal investigator of multiple federally funded grants focusing on food-related behaviors, nutrition, and health. In relation to this specific material, I am co-investigator on the grant that funded the collection of the data being presented, and I led development of the survey questionnaire from which analyses are reported. Among my scientific interests are nutrition disparities, social contexts of eating, peer influence, and improving health in adolescent and adult populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 3128.0: Obesity and Nutrition