Influence of Maternal and Child Lifestyle-Related Characteristics on the Socioeconomic Inequality in Overweight and Obesity among 5-year-old Children; The "Be Active, Eat Right" Study

L. Veldhuis, I. Vogel, L. van Rossem, C.M. Renders, R.A. Hirasing, J.P. Mackenbach, H. Raat

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It is unclear whether the socioeconomic inequality in prevalence of overweight and obesity is already present among very young children. This study investigates the association between overweight and socioeconomic status (SES, with maternal educational level as an indicator of SES) among 5-year-old children. This cross-sectional study uses baseline data from 5-year-olds of Dutch ethnicity (n = 5,582) and their mothers collected for the "Be active, eat right" study. Compared to children of mothers with the highest educational level, for children of mothers with the lowest educational level the odds ratio (adjusted for demographic characteristics) for having overweight was 2.10 (95% confidence interval: 1.57-2.82), and for having obesity was 4.18 (95% confidence interval: 2.32-7.55). Addition of maternal and child lifestyle-related characteristics decreased the odds ratios for overweight and obesity by 26.4% and 42.1%, respectively. The results show that an inverse SES-overweight/obesity association is already present at elementary school entry, and that watching TV by mother and child, the child consuming breakfast and, especially maternal weight status, are contributing factors in this association. These results should be taken into account when developing policies to reduce inequalities in (childhood) health. © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2336-2347
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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