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Mediators of differences by parental education in weight-related outcomes in childhood and adolescence in Norway.

  • Author(s): Mekonnen, Teferi;
  • Brantsæter, Anne-Lise;
  • Andersen, Lene F;
  • Lien, Nanna;
  • Arah, Onyebuchi A;
  • Gebremariam, Mekdes K;
  • Papadopoulou, Eleni
  • et al.
Abstract

Studies exploring mediators of socioeconomic inequalities in excess weight gain in early-life and subsequent overweight/obesity (OW/OB) among youth are limited. Thus, this study examined the mediating role of prenatal and early postnatal factors and child energy balance-related behaviours (EBRB) in the effects of parental education on (i) excess weight gain from birth to 2 years and (ii) OW/OB at 5, 8 and 14 years. The Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study was used to include participants at the ages of 2 (n = 59,597), 5 (n = 27,134), 8 (n = 28,285) and 14 (n = 11,278) years. Causal mediation analyses using the inverse odds weighting approach were conducted. Children of low-educated parents had a higher conditional excess weight gain at 2 years compared to children of high-educated parents (total effect, RRTE = 1.06; 95% CI 1.01, 1.10). The joint mediation effects of the prenatal and early postnatal factors explained most of the total effect of low education on conditional excess weight gain at 2 years. Children of low-educated parents had a higher risk of OW/OB at 5, 8 and 14 years compared to children of high-educated parents. The mediators jointly explained 63.7%, 67% and 88.9% of the total effect of parental education on OW/OB among 5, 8 and 14 year-old-children, respectively. Of the total mediated effects at 5, 8 and 14 years, the prenatal and early postnatal mediators explained 59.2%, 61.7% and 73.7%, whereas the child EBRB explained 10.3%, 15.8.0%% and 34.8%. The mediators included were found to have a considerable mediating effect in the associations explored, in particular the prenatal and early postnatal factors. If truly causal, the findings could indicate potential targets for interventions to tackle socioeconomic inequalities in OW/OB from birth to adolescence.

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