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Gender-specific mediators of the association between parental education and adiposity among adolescents: the HEIA study.

  • Author(s): Gebremariam, Mekdes K
  • Arah, Onyebuchi A
  • Bergh, Ingunn H
  • Andersen, Lene F
  • Ommundsen, Yngvar
  • Totland, Torunn H
  • Bjelland, Mona
  • Grydeland, May
  • Lien, Nanna
  • et al.
Abstract

Identifying the mechanisms behind socioeconomic inequalities in adiposity among youth is vital for efforts aimed at combating these inequalities. The study explored whether a broad range of behavioral and familial factors mediated the associations between parental education and indicators of adiposity among adolescents. Baseline data from a school-based intervention study conducted in 2007 among 11-year-old adolescents were used. Anthropometric outcomes, physical activity and sedentary time among adolescents were objectively measured. Other behavioral variables and parental waist circumference were self-reported. Mediation analyses were conducted. Among boys, maternal waist circumference (WC), paternal WC and TV viewing mediated 16%, 11.5% and 13% of the association between parental education and adolescent WC. The respective proportions when body fat percentage was used as the outcome variable were 22.5%, 16% and 21%. Among girls, maternal and paternal WC mediated 20% and 14% of the association between parental education and WC. The respective proportions when body fat percentage was used as the outcome variable were 14% and 10%. Other included variables did not play any mediating role. Parental WC was found to be a mediator of socioeconomic differences in adiposity in both genders; underlying mechanisms were however not investigated. Among boys, reducing TV time could contribute to the reduction of social inequalities in adiposity.

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