The experience of life events and body composition in middle childhood: a population-based study

International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity

Ivonne P. M. Derks, Sara Hannani, Florianne O. L. Vehmeijer, Henning Tiemeier & Pauline W. Jansen


While studies suggest potential infuences of childhood adversities on obesity development in adulthood, less is known about the short-term association in children. We examined the association between a wide range of life events experienced in the first ten years of life (including maltreatment and milder adversities) and body composition in 5333 ten-year old Dutch children. In structured interviews, mothers retrospectively reported on their children’s experience of 24 events. BMI was calculated, and fat mass index and fat free mass index were determined by dual-x-ray absorptiometry scanning. Linear regressions showed that, unadjusted, a higher number of life events was associated with higher BMI and body composition. However, associations attenuated to non-signifcance after adjustment for covariates. Similar findings were observed for maltreatment and milder life events. Thus, the number of experienced life events was not associated with body composition in middle childhood. Rather, other factors, like socioeconomic conditions, accounted for the relationship between life events and weight development in children.

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