Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Obesity.. Where you are born affects body mass index for life

Lifestyle factors that directly affect body weight:

Is it an indirect factor, related to other lifestyle factors that directly affect body weight? But the neighborhood where one begins life and then the places of residence during childhood have a significant impact on the trajectory of body mass index (BMI) and the risk of obesity in adolescence. While this is not the first study to link place of birth and residence to body weight, it is the first demonstration, here in the JAMA Network Open, of the high vulnerability of children to the adverse conditions of the neighborhood of residence, with lifelong health consequences.

These “place of birth” and “place of residence” factors should therefore be taken into consideration, along with exposure to pollution, by public health policies,
a fortiori because these are factors that are very difficult for families and individuals to modify.

The place of birth and residence, a factor of chronic diseases later in life?

The Harvard Pilgrim Health Institute (Boston) team describes place of birth and residence as "a factor in favorable or unfavorable BMI patterns and future risk of chronic disease". The main author, Izzuddin Aris, professor of population medicine at Harvard Medical School, recalls that these physical and social criteria of the neighborhoods where children reside are increasingly recognized as an important determinant of health throughout life. life. The study therefore looked at the extent to which these criteria are linked to childhood BMI and the risk of obesity later in life.

The place of life clearly associated with the BMI trajectory:

While previous studies have investigated this association, they were limited by small sample sizes, lack of geographic diversity, and insufficient variation in individual characteristics. That's not the case with this new study that fills those gaps, with a geographically diverse cohort of more than 20,000 children from different birth cohorts across the United States participating in the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program. . Participants' geocoded residential addresses were collected at birth, infancy, and middle childhood, along with Child Opportunity Index (ChOI) and Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) scores. The researchers then examined the associations of these scores with BMI and obesity in participating children. This analysis reveals that:

  • regardless of the stage of life considered, children who reside in regions where the ChOI index is higher follow lower average BMI trajectories and run a lower risk of obesity from childhood to infancy. adolescence, regardless of family and prenatal socio-demographic characteristics;
  • similar patterns are seen for children with low SVI scores;
  • these associations are more marked for children residing in the most privileged or less vulnerable neighborhoods. Living in these privileged neighborhoods at birth has a greater impact on reducing the risk of obesity compared to living in these neighborhoods later in childhood, suggesting that pregnancy is also an important window of exposure.

The team calls for policies to focus on investments that address structures that systematically compromise the health of marginalized communities and initiatives that change the environmental factors influencing overweight and obesity in children.