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Longitudinal Study: LSIC
Title: Early Life Predictors of Increased Body Mass Index among Indigenous Australian Children
Authors: Banwell, Cathy 
Thurber, Katherine A 
Kirk, Martyn 
Dobbins, Timothy 
Dance, Phyll 
Publication Date: 15-Jun-2015
Pages: e0130039
Keywords: Body Mass Index
Diabetes mellitus
Childhood obesity
Weight gain
Child health
Abstract: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are more likely than non-Indigenous Australians to be obese and experience chronic disease in adulthood—conditions linked to being overweight in childhood. Birthweight and prenatal exposures are associated with increased Body Mass Index (BMI) in other populations, but the relationship is unclear for Indigenous children. The Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children is an ongoing cohort study of up to 1,759 children across Australia. We used a multilevel model to examine the association between children’s birthweight and BMI z-score in 2011, at age 3-9 years, adjusted for sociodemographic and maternal factors. Complete data were available for 682 of the 1,264 children participating in the 2011 survey; we repeated the analyses in the full sample with BMI recorded (n=1,152) after multilevel multiple imputation. One in ten children were born large for gestational age, and 17% were born small for gestational age. Increasing birthweight predicted increasing BMI; a 1-unit increase in birthweight z-score was associated with a 0.22-unit (95% CI:0.13, 0.31) increase in childhood BMI z-score. Maternal smoking during pregnancy was associated with a significant increase (0.25; 95% CI:0.05, 0.45) in BMI z-score. The multiple imputation analysis indicated that our findings were not distorted by biases in the missing data. High birthweight may be a risk indicator for overweight and obesity among Indigenous children. National targets to reduce the incidence of low birthweight which measure progress by an increase in the population’s average birthweight may be ignoring a significant health risk; both ends of the spectrum must be considered. Interventions to improve maternal health during pregnancy are the first step to decreasing the prevalence of high BMI among the next generation of Indigenous children.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130039
Keywords: Culture -- Indigenous; Children; Child Development -- Physical; Health -- Body size, BMI, Body image; Health -- Obesity
Research collection: Journal Articles
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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