Factors associated with abdominal obesity in children

Matheus Ribeiro Theodósio Fernandes Melzer Isabella Mastrangi Magrini Semíramis Martins Álvares Domene Paula Andrea Martins About the authors


To identify the association of dietary, socioeconomic factors, sedentary behaviors and maternal nutritional status with abdominal obesity in children.


A cross-sectional study with household-based survey, in 36 randomly selected census tracts in the city of Santos, SP. 357 families were interviewed and questionnaires and anthropometric measurements were applied in mothers and their 3-10 years-old children. Assessment of abdominal obesity was made by maternal and child's waist circumference measurement; for classification used cut-off points proposed by World Health Organization (1998) and Taylor et al. (2000) were applied. The association between variables was performed by multiple logistic regression analysis.


30.5% of children had abdominal obesity. Associations with children's and maternal nutritional status and high socioeconomic status were shown in the univariate analysis. In the regression model, children's body mass index for age (OR=93.7; 95%CI 39.3-223.3), female gender (OR=4.1; 95%CI 1.8-9.3) and maternal abdominal obesity (OR=2.7; 95%CI 1.2-6.0) were significantly associated with children's abdominal obesity, regardless of the socioeconomic status.


Abdominal obesity in children seems to be associated with maternal nutritional status, other indicators of their own nutritional status and female gender. Intervention programs for control of childhood obesity and prevention of metabolic syndrome should consider the interaction of the nutritional status of mothers and their children.

Nutritional epidemiology; Children; Abdominal obesity; Waist circumference

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