Family stress and BMI in young children
Article first published online: 22 FEB 2010
© 2010 The Author(s)/Journal Compilation © 2010 Foundation Acta Pædiatrica
Volume 99, Issue 8, pages 1205–1212, August 2010
How to Cite
Stenhammar, C., Olsson, G., Bahmanyar, S., Hulting, A.-L., Wettergren, B., Edlund, B. and Montgomery, S. (2010), Family stress and BMI in young children. Acta Paediatrica, 99: 1205–1212. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.01776.x
- Issue published online: 1 JUL 2010
- Article first published online: 22 FEB 2010
- Received 29 September 2009; revised 25 January 2010; accepted 16 February 2010.
Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate if family stress and parental attachment style are associated with body mass index (BMI) in young children, and identify possible explanations.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey with a two-stage design was used. Parents of 873 children participated. They completed a demographic questionnaire, the Swedish Parenthood Stress Questionnaire (SPSQ), the Relationship Questionnaire (RQ) and reported their children’s television-viewing habits (as a marker of physical activity). Children’s height, weight and BMI were obtained from a general population-based register, BASTA. Associations with over- and underweight in children were assessed using multiple logistic regression analysis.
Results: Family stress indicated by SPSQ-score was associated with suboptimal BMI. Maternal, but not paternal, SPSQ-stress score was statistically significantly associated with overweight and underweight, with adjusted odds ratios (and 95% confidence interval) of 4.61 (3.11–6.84; p < 0.001) and 3.08 (1.64–5.81; p < 0.001) respectively. Associations between childhood BMI and parental attachment style were identified, but were not independent of maternal SPSQ-score.
Conclusion: Our findings support a role for family stress in development of both overweight and underweight among young children. This is likely to be attributed to behavioural mechanisms but a more direct metabolic influence of stress could also be involved.