Parental overweight, socioeconomic status and high birth weight are the major determinants of overweight and obesity in 5-7 y-old children: baseline data of the Kiel Obesity Prevention Study (KOPS)

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Nov;28(11):1494-502. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802756.


Objectives: To identify the major risk factors of overweight and obesity in prepubertal children.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: In all, 32 primary schools in Kiel (248 000 inhabitants), northwest Germany.

Subjects: A total of 2631 5-7-y-old German children and their parents.

Main outcome measures: Weight status, socio-economic status (SES), parental overweight, dietary intake, activity, inactivity and further determinants (birth weight, breast feeding, nutritional status of siblings) of the children.

Results: The prevalence of overweight (>/=90th BMI percentile of reference) was 9.2% in boys and 11.2% in girls, respectively. Considered univariately, family-, environment- and development-related determinants showed some relations to overweight and obesity. In multivariate analyses parental overweight, a low SES as well as a high birth weight were the strongest independent risk factors of overweight and obesity in children. Additionally, there were sex-specific risk factors: parental smoking and single households were risk factors in boys, whereas a low activity was associated with obesity in girls. Birth weight was associated with obesity, but not with overweight. The prevalence of obesity reached 29.2% in boys and 33.4% in girls with all the three main risk factors.

Conclusions: Overweight families of low SES have the highest risk of overweight and obese children. Future prevention programmes must also take into account sex-specific risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Birth Weight
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Parents*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class