Background: Identifying modifiable lifestyle behaviors linked to childhood obesity is necessary to develop preventive strategies.
Objective: To estimate the association of five lifestyle behaviors in children aged 4 years on obesity and cardiometabolic risk factors at age 4 years and on obesity and blood pressure at age 7 years.
Methods: We used child lifestyle data from the INMA project at age 4 years (n = 1480). We constructed a child lifestyle score by summing five behaviors (physical activity, sleep time, television time, plant based foods and intake of ultra-processed foods) and we categorized it into tertiles. At ages 4 and 7 years, we calculated age- and sex-specific z-scores for BMI, waist circumference (WC), and blood pressure. At age 4, we also calculated age-, and sex-, specific z-scores for triglycerides and HDL. We used linear and logistic regression analyses.
Results: The lifestyle score was not associated with the outcomes at 4 years, but it was negatively associated with BMI and WC z-scores at age 7 years. Children at age 4 years in the highest tertile of the score had lower risk of overweight or obesity at age 7 years (OR = 0.61; 95% CI 0.39; 0.96) and abdominal obesity (OR = 0.48; 95% CI 0.24; 0.96).
Conclusions: Higher adherence to a healthy lifestyle at age 4 years decreased risk of overweight, obesity and abdominal obesity at 7 years.
Keywords: cardiometabolic risk; childhood obesity; cohort study; lifestyle behaviors; overweight; ultra-processed food.
© 2019 World Obesity Federation.