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Dekkers, J C.1; Podolsky, R H.1; Barbeau, P1; Treiber, F A.1; Snieder, H1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2003 - Volume 35 - Issue 5 - p S177
D-14L Free Communication/Poster Children and Exercise

1Georgia Prevention Institute and Office of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA

(Sponsor: Willem Van Mechelen, FACSM)

Obesity is associated with numerous health problems and often originates in childhood. It is poorly understood how general and central obesity develop from childhood into adulthood, and to what extent the development of obesity is moderated by ethnicity, gender and socio-economic status (SES).

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To investigate the development of general and central obesity from childhood into early adulthood within the context of ethnicity, gender and SES.

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Individual growth curves for measures of central obesity (waist circumference) and general obesity (body mass index [BMI] and the sum of skinfolds [triceps, subscapular and suprailiac]) were created for 622 subjects (4–27 years) with annual assessments over an 11-year period, classified by ethnicity, gender and SES.

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Sum of skinfolds was larger in females across the entire age range. Ethnicity, gender and SES showed a complex relationship with the means of BMI and sum of skinfolds. As expected, general obesity was lowest in the high SES group for European American males and females, but this was not the case in African American males and females. Mean waist circumference decreased as SES increased. The low SES group showed the fastest increase with age in waist circumference and BMI. Girls showed large increases in sum of skinfolds with age, whereas this measure leveled off in boys. Individual growth curves were unaffected by ethnicity for all variables.

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Overall, these results suggest that the development of obesity was influenced by gender and SES, but not by ethnicity. However, ethnicity, gender and SES had joint effects on obesity levels. Supported in part by NHLBI grants HL 69999, HL 35073 and HL 41781 and a grant from the Georgia Center of Obesity and Related Disorders (GCORD)

©2003The American College of Sports Medicine