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Longitudinal Study: LSAC
Title: Differences in weight status among Australian children and adolescents from priority populations: a longitudinal study
Authors: Lung, Tom 
Killedar, Anagha
Taki, Sarah
Wen, Li Ming
Dickson, Michelle
Howard, Kirsten
Baur, Louise
Kelly, Patrick
Sherriff, Simone
Hayes, Alison
Publication Date: 2-Feb-2024
Abstract: Australia has a high level of cultural and linguistic diversity, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Children from specific cultural and ethnic groups may be at greater risk of overweight and obesity and may bear the additional risk of socioeconomic disadvantage. Our aim was to identify differences in body-mass index z-score (zBMI) by: (1) Cultural and ethnic groups and; (2) Socioeconomic position (SEP), during childhood and adolescence. We used data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian children (nā€‰=ā€‰9417) aged 2-19 years with 50870 longitudinal measurements of zBMI. Children were classified into 9 cultural and ethnic groups, based on parent and child's country of birth and language spoken at home. These were: (1) English-speaking countries; (2) Middle East & North Africa; (3) East & South-East Asia; (4) South & Central Asia; (5) Europe; (6) Sub-Saharan Africa; (7) Americas; (8) Oceania. A further group (9) was defined as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander from self-reported demographic information. Longitudinal cohort analyses in which exposures were cultural and ethnic group and family socioeconomic position, and the outcome was zBMI estimated using multilevel mixed linear regression models. We stratified our analyses over three periods of child development: early childhood (2-5 years); middle childhood (6-11 years); and adolescence (12-19 years). Across all three periods of child development, children from the Middle East and North Africa, the Americas and Oceania were associated with higher zBMI and children from the two Asian groups were associated with lower zBMI, when compared to the referent group (English). zBMI was socioeconomically patterned, with increasingly higher zBMI associated with more socioeconomic disadvantage. Our findings identified key population groups at higher risk of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence. Prevention efforts should prioritize these groups to avoid exacerbating inequalities in healthy weight in childhood.
DOI: 10.1038/s41366-024-01471-0
Research collection: Journal Articles
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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