BMI and university degree predict adolescent obesity

06 December 2019

The BMI of mother and child and the mother’s education are the three simple predictors of a child being overweight or obese by the time they are a teenager.

Research led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute shows these three clinical markers predict the onset or resolution of weight problems by adolescence, especially from age six to seven years onward.

Each increased unit of BMI when the child is six to seven years trebled the odds at 14 to 15 years of developing weight problems, and halved the odds of resolution.

Similarly, every unit increase in the mother’s BMI when the child was aged six to seven years increased the odds at 14 to 15 years of developing weight problems by 5% and decreased the odds of resolution by about 10%.

A mother’s university degree was also associated with lower odds of a child being overweight and obese at ages two to five years.

The findings were published in the International Journal of Obesity.

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