Does parenting help to explain socioeconomic inequalities in children's body mass index trajectories? Longitudinal analysis using the Growing Up in Scotland study

Parkes, A. , Sweeting, H. , Young, R. and Wight, D. (2016) Does parenting help to explain socioeconomic inequalities in children's body mass index trajectories? Longitudinal analysis using the Growing Up in Scotland study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 70(9), pp. 868-873. (doi: 10.1136/jech-2015-206616) (PMID:27056682) (PMCID:PMC5013155)

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Background: Pathways leading to socioeconomic inequalities in young children's body mass index (BMI) are not well understood. This study examined whether parenting related to the physical and social context of children's food consumption helped to explain associations between maternal educational level and child BMI trajectory. Methods: The study used data from 2957 families in a nationally representative birth cohort study surveyed from 2004 to 2011, with child BMI z-score measured 3 times (46, 70 and 94 months). Latent growth curve models examined associations between maternal education and BMI z-score trajectory, exploring mediating effects of parenting (positive mealtime interaction, informal meal setting and child bedroom TV) and unhealthy child diet. Results: After adjusting for maternal BMI, maternal education predicted increased inequality in child BMI z-score trajectory slope over the study period. The slope index of inequality coefficient for maternal education, that is, the change in z-score associated with the lowest relative to the highest maternal education level, was 0.17, p<0.001. Indirect effects of lower maternal education on steeper BMI trajectory via parenting and/or unhealthy diet represented 89% of the total effect. Pathways via parenting and then unhealthy diet accounted for 68% of significant indirect pathways, with the remainder via unhealthy diet only. Bedroom TV was the most important parenting pathway, followed by informal meal setting. Conclusions: Pathways via parenting helped to explain the emergence of inequalities in young children's BMI related to maternal education. Interventions targeting parental provision of child bedroom TV and informal meal setting might reduce these inequalities.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wight, Professor Danny and Parkes, Dr Alison and Young, Mr Robert and Sweeting, Dr Helen
Authors: Parkes, A., Sweeting, H., Young, R., and Wight, D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):1470-2738
Published Online:07 April 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 70(9): 868-873
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727631SPHSU Core Renewal: Relationships & Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLisa McDaidMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/11IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727641SPHSU Core Renewal: Setting and Health Improvement Research ProgrammeKathryn HuntMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/12IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
656641Children, Young People, Families and Health ProgrammeDaniel WightMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/9IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
656581Gender and HealthKathryn HuntMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/3IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU