Ten-year change in the association between obesity and parity: results from the National FINRISK Population Study

Gend Med. 2011 Dec;8(6):399-406. doi: 10.1016/j.genm.2011.11.003.


Background: Overweight or weight development related to pregnancy has been associated with number of deliveries (ie, parity).

Objective: This study evaluates 10-year changes in associations between obesity and parity.

Methods: The data were from the National FINRISK Study on women 25-64 years of age. The study included a questionnaire and anthropometric measurements in 1997 (N = 4193) and 2007 (N = 3578). Women whose body mass index (BMI) was ≥ 30 kg/m² were considered obese, and women whose waist circumference was ≥ 88 cm were considered viscerally obese. Women with no pregnancies were categorized as nulliparous, those with 1-2 deliveries as parous, and those with ≥ 3 deliveries as multiparous. Logistic regression models were used to estimate separately the odd ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs for BMI and waist circumference. Linear regression models were used to evaluate the main effect of parity on obesity and visceral obesity.

Results: Women with 1 or 2 children were less often obese (OR = 0.75; 95% CI, 0.64-0.88) or viscerally obese (OR = 0.98; 95% CI, 0.85-1.14) than nulliparous or multiparous women. Multiparous women had more visceral obesity in 2007 (OR = 1.36; 95% CI, 1.16-1.60) than other parity groups. Multiparous women had the highest BMI or waist circumference even after adjusting for age, study year, and education. The year 2007 was significantly associated with visceral obesity (OR = 2.07; 95% CI, 1.87-2.30) and obesity (OR = 1.13; 95% CI, 1.01-1.28) when compared with 1997.

Conclusion: Parity is an important determinant of visceral obesity, which is more prevalent in younger age groups than a decade ago. Women with ≥ 3 deliveries were more often obese or viscerally obese than other women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Parity*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Waist Circumference*
  • Weight Gain*
  • Women's Health*