Does Gender & Social Mobility Modify the Effect of Birth Weight on Total & Central Obesity?

Research Paper Title

Gender and social mobility modify the effect of birth weight on total and central obesity.

Background

Little is known about the interaction between gender and low birth weight (LBW) and lifelong social mobility as an explanation of the etiology of obesity. The aim of the present study was to evaluate total and central obesity according to gender, LBW and social mobility, within the context of the epidemiological transition in middle-income countries. The researchers hypothesised that there are more pronounced metabolic consequences of social mobility for women born with LBW.

Methods

The researchers used data from a birth cohort study conducted in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil. Data regarding anthropometric measurements, schooling and smoking status were collected at 23-25 years of age. Social mobility was determined based on maternal and adult offspring schooling and categorized as Low-Low, Low-High and High-High. Analysis of covariance was performed to assess the association between social mobility and body mass index (BMI) or waist circumference (WC) in adulthood, stratified by LBW and gender.

Results

Data on 6827 singleton pregnancies were collected at birth in 1978/79 and a sample was followed up in 2002/04. A total of 2063 subjects were included in the study. Mean age was 23.9 ± 0.7 years, 51.8% (n = 1068) were female and the LBW was 6.2% (n = 128). There was a triple interaction between social mobility, LBW and gender. Among women born without LBW, BMI and WC were higher in the Low-Low group compared to High-High schooling group. Among LBW women, BMI and WC were higher in the Low-Low group compared to the Low-High group.

Conclusions

Women born with LBW belonging to the low schooling group in early adulthood had high BMI and WC, compared to the Low-High social mobility group.

Reference

Bernardi, J.R., Goldani, M.Z., Pinheiro, T.V., Guimaraes, L.S.P., Bettiol, H., da Silva, A.A.M. & Barbieri, M.A. (2017) Gender and social mobility modify the effect of birth weight on total and central obesity. Nutrition Journal. 16: 38. Published online 2017 Jun 26. doi: 10.1186/s12937-017-0260-7

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