The impact of positive contextual factors on the association between adverse family experiences and obesity in a National Survey of Children

Brian A. Lynch, Lila J. Finney Rutten, Patrick M. Wilson, Seema M Kumar, Sean Phelan, Robert M. Jacobson, Chun Fan, Amenah Agunwamba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Adverse family experiences (AFEs) are associated with childhood obesity. We evaluated whether certain positive contextual factors reduce the risk of obesity and overweight among children exposed to AFEs in a nationally representative sample. Using data derived from the National Survey of Children's Health 2011–12 (N = 43,864), we calculated the distribution of positive contextual factors (very good/excellent maternal mental health, neighborhood and school safety, and child resilience) and AFEs across weight status. The AFEs composite score was modeled as a categorical measure (0 or ≥1 AFEs). Positive contextual factors, AFEs and their interactions were evaluated in weighted, adjusted, multinomial logistic regression models predicting the odds of overweight and obesity. Children exposed to lack of very good/excellent maternal mental health and at least one AFE were at risk for overweight (OR = 1.43; 95% CI: 1.16, 1.76) and obesity (OR = 1.53; 95% CI: 1.22, 1.93). Unsafe school or neighborhood environment and exposure to 1 or more AFEs was. associated with overweight (OR = 1.32; 95% CI: 1.08, 1.61) and obesity (OR = 1.66; 95% CI: 1.34, 2.05). Lack of child resilience and exposure to 1 or more AFEs was associated with an increased risk of obesity (OR = 1.45; 95% CI: 1.17, 1.90) and overweight (OR = 1.29; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.57). These odds of obesity and overweight all decreased when positive contextual factors were present. Among children exposed to AFEs, overweight and obesity risk is reduced with positive contextual factors. Optimizing the early childhood environment can impact obesity risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-86
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive Medicine
Volume116
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

Keywords

  • Child abuse
  • Depression
  • Life change events
  • Mental health
  • Overweight
  • Pediatric obesity
  • Safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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