Parental and childhood overweight in sedentary and active adolescents

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 Feb;20(1):74-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2008.00870.x.


We studied whether the prevalence of overweight since age 2 years differed in sedentary and active adolescents (N=346). Further, we analyzed the energy intake of sedentary and active adolescents across 12 years. BMI was assessed annually since birth, energy intake since age 13 months and parents' BMI from the time their child was 7 months old in a longitudinal atherosclerosis prevention study. Data on physical activity were collected at age 13 years (N=560). Sedentary and Active groups were formed by upper and lower physical activity tertile cut-points. Girls Sedentary at 13 years were more often overweight than Active peers already since age 2 years (P=0.048). Activity habits were not associated with energy intake. Conversely, among boys, activity habits in adolescence were not associated with childhood overweight, while the energy intake of Active boys was higher than that of Sedentary boys (P=0.008). Parental overweight was not associated with the physical activity of children; however, Sedentary girls more often had an overweight mother than Active girls (P=0.021). In conclusion, overweight during early years of life is more common among girls who are Sedentary as adolescents than in Active peers. Overweight mothers more often have Sedentary daughters than normal-weight mothers. A healthy lifestyle right from early childhood requires active support.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Parents*