Behavioral risk factors for overweight in early childhood; the 'be active, eat right' study.

L. Veldhuis, I. Vogel, C.M. Renders, L. van Rossem, A. Oenema, R.A. Hira Sing, H. Raat

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Background: The lifestyle-related behaviors having breakfast, drinking sweet beverages, playing outside and watching TV have been indicated to have an association with childhood overweight, but research among young children (below 6 years old) is limited. The aim of the present study was to assess the associations between these four behaviors and overweight among young children.Methods: This cross-sectional study used baseline data on 5-year-old children (n = 7505) collected for the study 'Be active, eat right'. Age and sex-specific cut-off points for body mass index of the International Obesity Task Force were used to assess overweight/obesity. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were applied.Results: For children whom had breakfast <7 days/week and watched TV >2 hours/day, the odds ratio (OR) for having overweight (obesity included) was, respectively, 1.49 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.13-1.95), and 1.25 (95% CI: 1.03-1.51). There was a positive association between the number of risk behaviors present and the risk for having overweight. For children with 3 or all of the risk behaviors having breakfast <7 days/week, drinking sweet beverages >2 glasses/day, playing outside <1 h/day, watching TV >2 hs/day, the OR for overweight was 1.73 (95% CI: 1.11-2.71) (all models adjusted for children's sex and sociodemographic characteristics).Conclusion: Given the positive association between the number of behavioral risk factors and overweight, further studies are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of behavioral counseling of parents of toddlers in preventing childhood overweight. In the meantime we recommend physicians to target all four behaviors for counseling during well-child visits. © 2012 Veldhuis et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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