Social patterning in adiposity in adolescence: Prospective observations from the Chinese birth Cohort "children of 1997"

L. L. Hui, Gabriel M. Leung, C. Mary Schooling

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Low early life socio-economic position is more strongly associated with adiposity among women than men. We examined whether the sex difference of social patterning in general and central adiposity exists before adulthood. Methods: In Hong Kong's "Children of 1997" birth cohort, we used multivariable regression to examine the association of parental education, a marker of early life socio-economic position, with body mass index (BMI) (n = 7252, 88% follow-up) and waist-height ratio (n = 5636, 68% followup), at 14 years. Results: Parental education of Grade 9 or below, compared to Grade 12 or above, was associated with higher waist-height ratio z-score particularly in girls (0.30, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.19, 0.41) compared to boys (0.12, 95% CI 0.02, 0.22) (p for sex interaction = 0.02). Lower parental education was associated with greater BMI z-score in adolescents of locally born mothers, but not adolescents of migrant mothers, with no difference by sex. Conclusions: Different social patterning in different markers of adiposity may imply different sociological and biological mediating pathways. A stronger association between low early life socio-economic position and waist-height ratio in adolescent girls may indicate sex-specific influences of SEP related early life exposures on central adiposity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0146198
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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