Parental body mass index and its association with body composition, physical fitness and lifestyle factors in their 4-year-old children: results from the MINISTOP trial

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2017 Oct;71(10):1200-1205. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2017.62. Epub 2017 May 3.


Background/objectives: To examine the association between parental body mass index (BMI) and their offspring's body composition, physical fitness and lifestyle factors (that is, sedentary time, physical activity and diet).

Subjects/methods: A total of 307 preschoolers (4.5±0.1 years) and their parents (fathers: 38.1±5.1 years and mothers: 35.6±4.2 years) participated in this study. Parental BMI was calculated using self-reported weight and height. Preschoolers body composition was assessed using: BMI, fat mass percentage, fat mass index, fat-free mass index (measured via air-displacement plethysmography) and waist circumference. Physical fitness was assessed by the PREFIT fitness battery. Lifestyle factors were assessed using the ActiGraph wGT3x-BT (sedentary time and physical activity), and the mobile-phone based tool for energy balance in children (diet).

Results: Parental BMI were positively associated with their offspring's BMI (paternal BMI: standardised beta, β=0.233, P<0.001; maternal BMI: β=0.186, P=0.001), fat mass index (paternal BMI: β=0.130, P=0.026; maternal BMI: β=0.163, P=0.005), fat-free mass index (paternal BMI: β=0.214, P<0.001; maternal BMI: β=0.119, P=0.036) and waist circumference (paternal BMI: β=0.178, P=0.001; maternal BMI: β=0.179, P=0.001). A negative association was found between maternal BMI and their offspring's standing long jump test (β=-0.132, P=0.022). Paternal BMI was associated with their offspring's sedentary time (β=0.100, P=0.026), whereas parental BMI was not associated with neither physical activity nor diet (all P⩾0.104).

Conclusions: Parental BMI was positively associated with their offspring's BMI, fat as well as fat-free mass index and waist circumference. Moreover, a higher paternal and maternal BMI were related to higher levels of sedentary time and a lower performance in the standing long jump test of their offspring, respectively.

Trial registration: NCT02021786.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • Pediatric Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Sweden

Associated data