Early-life factors are associated with waist circumference and type 2 diabetes among Ghanaian adults: The RODAM Study

Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 26;9(1):10848. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-47169-6.


Early-life experiences may fuel the emergence of obesity and type 2 diabetes among African populations. We evaluated childhood socio-economic status (SES) and childhood nutritional status as risk factors for increased waist circumference and type 2 diabetes among Ghanaian adults. In the multi-center, cross-sectional Research on Obesity and Diabetes among African Migrants (RODAM) Study, we calculated associations (adjusted for demographics and lifestyle) of parental education and anthropometric markers of childhood nutrition [leg length, leg length-to-height ratio (LHR)] with waist circumference and type 2 diabetes, respectively. Among 5,575 participants (mean age: 46.2 years; 62% female), lower education of either parent (vs. higher) was consistently associated with higher waist circumference (∆: 1.6-3.4 cm). Lower father's education tended to increase the odds of type 2 diabetes by 50% in women (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.0, 2.4). Reduced leg length and LHR were associated with higher waist circumference. But only in men, leg length was inversely related to type 2 diabetes (OR per 1 standard deviation decrease: 1.1; 95% CI: 1.0, 1.3). In this study, markers of poor childhood SES and early-life nutritional status relate to abdominal obesity in men and women and to type 2 diabetes in men. Thus, prevention efforts should start in early childhood.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Ghana / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Obesity, Abdominal / epidemiology*
  • Obesity, Abdominal / prevention & control
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class*
  • Transients and Migrants*
  • Waist Circumference*