Prevalences of cardiometabolic risk and lifestyle factors in young parents: evidence from a German birth cohort study

BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2022 Nov 7;22(1):469. doi: 10.1186/s12872-022-02915-z.


Background: Studies show that parents significantly impact their children's health through their cardiometabolic risk profile and health behavior. There is only little information about the prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors and lifestyle factors among new parents yet. The aims of this study are therefore to evaluate the prevalences of cardiometabolic risk factors in parents of infants in Germany and to examine their lifestyle and health behavior.

Methods: In the KUNO-Kids health study, an ongoing birth cohort, parents (n = 930 mothers and 769 fathers) were asked about cardiometabolic risk factors (obesity/hypertension/type 2 diabetes mellitus) and lifestyle factors (dietary/sports/smoking habits/alcohol consumption) during the first year after the birth of their children via questionnaires. Chi-square as well as fisher exact tests were conducted to analyse associations between lifestyle factors and cardiometabolic risk factors.

Results: 34.2% of mothers and 58.5% of fathers were overweight or obese. In 11.8% of the families, at least one parent suffered from hypertension, in 2.4% from type 2 diabetes mellitus. One year after delivery, 8.5% of mothers were smoking, 6.9% showed a risky alcohol consumption (> 10 g/d). 16.0% of fathers were smoking 4 weeks after childbirth, 10.7% showed risky alcohol consumption (> 20 g/d). 21.6% of mothers carried out sports activity for more than 2 h a week then. Parental hypertension was linked to a higher prevalence of risky alcohol consumption, obesity to a lower prevalence of daily fruits consumption.

Conclusions: Cardiometabolic risk factors were widespread among new parents with obesity and overweight having the highest prevalences. A considerable number of parents also practiced an unhealthy lifestyle showing that there is potential for improvement to promote the healthy development of their children.

Keywords: Birth cohort study; Cardiometabolic health; Health behavior; Lifestyle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Birth Cohort
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Life Style
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Parents
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors