BMI may underestimate the socioeconomic gradient in true obesity
Article first published online: 3 JAN 2013
© 2012 The Authors. Pediatric Obesity © 2012 International Association for the Study of Obesity
Volume 8, Issue 3, pages e37–e40, June 2013
How to Cite
van den Berg, G., van Eijsden, M., Vrijkotte, T. G. M. and Gemke, R. J. B. J. (2013), BMI may underestimate the socioeconomic gradient in true obesity. Pediatric Obesity, 8: e37–e40. doi: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2012.00133.x
- Issue published online: 23 MAY 2013
- Article first published online: 3 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 21 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 26 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Received: 3 SEP 2012
- Body mass index;
- fat mass index;
- lean mass index;
- socioeconomic status
Body mass index (BMI) does not make a distinction between fat mass and lean mass. In children, high fat mass appears to be associated with low maternal education, as well as low lean mass because maternal education is associated with physical activity. Therefore, BMI might underestimate true obesity in children of low-educated mothers.
To investigate the associations of maternal education with fat mass index (FMI), lean mass index (LMI) and BMI.
In total, 1965 Dutch children from a prospective cohort, aged 5.7 years (standard deviation 0.5), had available data on body composition based on bioelectrical impedance analysis.
Maternal education was not associated with BMI after adjustment for confounders. In contrast, children of low-educated mothers had a higher FMI (β 0.28 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.07; 0.49) and a lower LMI (β −0.18 95% CI −0.33; −0.03) compared with children of high-educated mothers.
This suggests that BMI underestimates the educational gradient of childhood obesity.