Background: The purpose of this study is to examine number of live births, other reproductive factors, and health behaviors in relation to obesity risk among older women.
Methods: Data were collected during in-person and telephone-based interviews from a population-based cohort in Utah.
Results: A total of 2,035 women aged 66-102 are included in this report. Overall, 403 (20%) older women were determined to be obese. The rates of obesity were significantly higher with increasing numbers of children, demonstrating a dose-response relationship (P < 0.05). After adjustment for age, education, marital status, BMI at age 18, use of oral contraceptives, hysterectomy status, physical activity, current use of hormone therapy, and age at menarche, the risk of obesity increased 11% with each additional live birth. In additional analyses that excluded nulliparous women, after adjusting for cumulative months of breast-feeding, the risk of obesity increased 7% with each live birth. In this cohort of older women, we found higher rates of obesity with increasing number of children that was independent of socioeconomic status and other confounding factors.
Conclusions: In a cohort of older women, higher rates of obesity were associated with increasing number of children that was independent of socioeconomic status and other confounding factors.