The experience of life events and body composition in middle childhood: a population-based study

Ivonne P.M. Derks, Sara Hannani, Florianne O.L. Vehmeijer, Henning Tiemeier, Pauline W. Jansen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


While studies suggest potential influences of childhood adversities on obesity development in adulthood, less is known about the short-term association in children. We examined the association between a wide range of life events experienced in the first ten years of life (including maltreatment and milder adversities) and body composition in 5333 ten-year old Dutch children. In structured interviews, mothers retrospectively reported on their children’s experience of 24 events. BMI was calculated, and fat mass index and fat free mass index were determined by dual-x-ray absorptiometry scanning. Linear regressions showed that, unadjusted, a higher number of life events was associated with higher BMI and body composition. However, associations attenuated to non-significance after adjustment for covariates. Similar findings were observed for maltreatment and milder life events. Thus, the number of experienced life events was not associated with body composition in middle childhood. Rather, other factors, like socioeconomic conditions, accounted for the relationship between life events and weight development in children.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Generation R Study is conducted by the Erasmus Medical Center in close collaboration with the Erasmus University Rotterdam, School of Law and Faculty of Social Sciences, the Municipal Health Service Rotterdam area, Rotterdam, the Rotterdam Homecare Foundation, and the Stichting Trombosedienst and Artsenlaboratorium Rijnmond, Rotterdam. We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of general practitioners, hospitals, midwives, and pharmacies in Rotterdam.

Funding Information:
The general design of Generation R Study is made possible by financial support from the Erasmus Medical Center and the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Ministry of Youth and Families. The current study was made possible by grants from the Dutch Diabetes Foundation (2013.81.1664 to Pauline W. Jansen) and the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (Mental Health Care Research Program, Fellowship 636320005 to Pauline W. Jansen). The funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study or the writing of the report.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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