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Body size in child and adulthood: Implications for adult health

Lake, Julie Karen; (1998) Body size in child and adulthood: Implications for adult health. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis investigates relationships between adiposity and adult health using data from birth to age 33 in the 1958 birth cohort. It includes (1) a discussion of measures and methods for assessing the stability of anthropometric data over time (tracking indices) and regression to the mean effects; (2) an examination of child to adult relationships for height and body mass index (BMI); (3) an investigation of the association between adiposity and women's reproductive health, back pain and respiratory symptoms, which focuses on the underlying temporal sequence of these associations. Adult BMI was weakly predicted from childhood (r=0.33, men; 0.37, women), but prediction was stronger for subjects with two obese parents (r=0.46, 0.54). The fattest children had the highest risks of adult obesity (odds ratio=4.2, men; 5.4, women), although most obese adults were not fat children. Early age of puberty was associated with a higher BMI from ages 7 to 33. Childhood obesity was independently associated with menstrual problems in adulthood (OR=1.59), although this was partly mediated through it's association with adult BMI. For women, obesity at 23 years significantly increased the risk of back pain (adjusted OR=1.78 for pain onset 32-33 years), asthma/wheeze onset (adjusted OR=1.40), menstrual problems (adjusted OR=1.75) and hypertension in pregnancy (adjusted OR=2.37); and reduced fertility (adjusted risk ratio=0.69 for conception within 12 months of unprotected intercourse). Women with chronic back pain and respiratory symptoms gained more weight between 23-33 years than women without symptoms. No consistent relationships were found for men. BMI gain after childhood increased the risk of reproductive problems and back pain among women. These findings suggest that adult obesity is an important risk factor for conditions affecting young adult women, and that childhood obesity plays a more minor role. The relationship between obesity and both back pain and respiratory symptoms appears to be bi-directional.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Body size in child and adulthood: Implications for adult health
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Health and environmental sciences; Adiposity
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10100214
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