Influence of early-life risk factors on socioeconomic inequalities in weight gain

Isabel Iguacel, Alexandra Chung, Emma Gearon, Luis A. Moreno, Anna Peeters, Kathryn Backholer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Previous research has examined the role of early-life risk factors on childhood weight gain.The extent to which these factors drive socioeconomic differences in weight is unclear. We aimed to quantify the influence of early-life risk factors on the development of socioeconomic inequalities in children's body mass index (BMI) z-score at 10-11 years. Methods: Overall, 2186 children from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children were examined. Socioeconomic position (SEP) was measured as a continuous composite of parent's education, occupation and income. The Product of Coefficients mediation method was used to quantify the contribution of maternal smoking during pregnancy, gestational diabetes, prematurity, caesarean section, birthweight, not being breastfed, early introduction of solid food, maternal BMI and paternal BMI to the relationship between SEP and BMI z-score. Results: Each increasing decile of SEP (higher SEP) was associated with a 0.05 unit lower (95% CI: -0.06, -0.03) BMI z-score at 10-11 years. In total, 83.5% of these differences in BMI z-score could be explained by socioeconomic differences in maternal smoking during pregnancy (26.9%), maternal BMI (39.6%) and paternal BMI (17.0%). Conclusions: Interventions to reduce socioeconomic inequalities in excess weight gain during childhood should support the attainment of a healthy parental weight and prevent smoking during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e447-e455
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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