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Overweight and obesity from childhood to adulthood: a follow-up of participants in the 1985 Australian Schools Health and Fitness Survey


Venn, A and Thomson, Russell and Schmidt, MD and Cleland, V and Curry, BA and Gennat, HC and Dwyer, T, Overweight and obesity from childhood to adulthood: a follow-up of participants in the 1985 Australian Schools Health and Fitness Survey, Medical Journal of Australia, 186, (9) pp. 458-460. ISSN 0025-729X (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.5694/j.1326-5377.2007.tb00997.x


Objective: To examine overweight and obesity in Australian children followed through to adulthood. Design and participants: A cohort study of 8498 children aged 7-15 years who participated in the 1985 Australian Schools Health and Fitness Survey; of these, 2208 men and 2363 women completed a follow-up questionnaire at age 24-34 years in 2001-2005. Main outcome measures: Height and weight were measured in 1985, and self-reported at follow-up. The accuracy of self-reported data was checked in 1185 participants. Overweight and obesity in childhood were defined according to international standard definitions for body mass index (BMI), and, in adulthood, as a BMI of 25-29.9 and ≥ 30 kg/m 2, respectively, after correcting for self-report error. Results: In those with baseline and follow-up data, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in childhood was 8.3% and 1.5% in boys and 9.7% and 1.4% in girls, respectively. At follow-up, the prevalence was 40.1% and 13.0% in men and 19.7% and 11.7% in women. The relative risk (RR) of becoming an obese adult was significantly greater for those who had been obese as children compared with those who had been a healthy weight (RR = 4.7; 95% CI, 3.0-7.2 for boys and RR = 9.2; 95% CI, 6.9-12.3 for girls). The proportion of adult obesity attributable to childhood obesity was 6.4% in males and 12.6% in females. Conclusion: Obesity in childhood was strongly predictive of obesity in early adulthood, but most obese young adults were a healthy weight as children.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Epidemiology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Venn, A (Professor Alison Venn)
UTAS Author:Thomson, Russell (Dr Russell Thomson)
UTAS Author:Schmidt, MD (Dr Michael Schmidt)
UTAS Author:Cleland, V (Associate Professor Verity Cleland)
UTAS Author:Curry, BA (Mrs Beverley Curry)
UTAS Author:Gennat, HC (Dr Hanni Gennat)
UTAS Author:Dwyer, T (Professor Terry Dwyer)
ID Code:47228
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:184
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2007-08-01
Last Modified:2010-05-12

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