Association Between Maternal Intimate Partner Violence and Incident Obesity in Preschool-Aged Children: Results From the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study | Obesity | JAMA Pediatrics | JAMA Network
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Article
June 7, 2010

Association Between Maternal Intimate Partner Violence and Incident Obesity in Preschool-Aged Children: Results From the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of General Pediatrics, School of Medicine (Drs Boynton-Jarrett, Suglia, and Zuckerman) and Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health (Ms Fargnoli and Dr Suglia), Boston University, Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School (Dr Wright), and Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health (Dr Wright), Boston, Massachusetts.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;164(6):540-546. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.94
Abstract

Objective  To examine the impact of chronicity of maternal intimate partner violence (IPV) on obesity risk among preschool-aged children.

Design  Prospective cohort study.

Setting  Several large US cities.

Participants  A subsample of the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study participants (n = 1595), who were children born between 1998 and 2000 and their parents interviewed at baseline and at 12, 36, and 60 months.

Main Exposure  Maternal report of restrictive, sexual, and physical abuse from an intimate partner. Chronic IPV was defined as any maternal IPV exposure during both pregnancy or infancy (0-12 months) and early childhood (36-60 months).

Main Outcome Measure  Repeated measures of child body mass index.

Results  Among the 1595 children, 16.5% were obese at age 5 years and 49.4% of the mothers reported some form of IPV. Compared with those who had no IPV exposure, children whose mothers reported chronic IPV had an elevated risk for obesity at age 5 years (adjusted odds ratio = 1.80; 95% confidence interval, 1.24-2.61). Stratified analyses indicated increased risk for obesity among girls with a maternal history of chronic IPV (adjusted odds ratio = 2.21; 95% confidence interval, 1.30-3.75) compared with boys (adjusted odds ratio = 1.66; 95% confidence interval, 0.94-2.93) and a larger effect of any maternal IPV on obesity among children living in less safe neighborhoods (adjusted odds ratio = 1.56; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-2.36).

Conclusions  Chronic maternal IPV is associated with increased risk of obesity among preschool-aged children. Preventing family violence and improving community safety may help reduce childhood obesity.

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