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Child's body mass index and mother's obesity: the moderating role of physical fitness.

  • Brand, Caroline1
  • Fochesatto, Camila Felin2
  • Dias, Arieli Fernandes2
  • Gaya, Anelise Reis2
  • de Lucena Martins, Clarice Maria3
  • Renner, Jane Dagmar Pollo4
  • Reuter, Cézane Priscila4
  • Kelishadi, Roya5
  • 1 Graduate Program in Health Promotion, University of Santa Cruz do Sul (UNISC), 2293 Independência Av, Santa Cruz do Sul, RS, Brazil. [email protected] , (Brazil)
  • 2 School of Physical Education, Physiotherapy and Dance, Graduate Program in Human Movement Sciences, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Felizardo, 750. Neighborhood: Jardim botânico, Porto Alegre, Brazil. , (Brazil)
  • 3 Research Center on Physical Activity, Health and Leisure, Federal University of Paraiba, Castelo Branco Street, João Pessoa, 58051-900, Brazil. , (Brazil)
  • 4 Graduate Program in Health Promotion, University of Santa Cruz do Sul (UNISC), 2293 Independência Av, Santa Cruz do Sul, RS, Brazil. , (Brazil)
  • 5 Roya Kelishadi. Child Growth and Development Research Center, Research Institute for Primordial Prevention of Non-Communicable Disease, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan Province, Isfahan, Iran. , (Iran)
Published Article
European Journal of Pediatrics
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1007/s00431-020-03810-5
PMID: 32940742


The aim of this study was to verify the association between children's body mass index and their mother's obesity, considering children's physical fitness as a possible moderator. Cross-sectional study developed with 1842 children and adolescents, aged seven to 17 years, from Santa Cruz do Sul-RS, Brazil. Body weight and height were assessed to determine body mass index. Cardiorespiratory fitness was determined by the 6-min walk/run test and muscular strength through the lower limb strength test. Mother's perception of obesity was self-assessed. Moderation was tested through a SPSS program extension. Results indicated that higher children's body mass index (p < 0.001) and lower levels of cardiorespiratory fitness (p = 0.001) and muscular strength (p = 0.035) were associated with mother's obesity. Likewise, higher body mass index (p < 0.001) and lower cardiorespiratory fitness (p < 0.001) in adolescents were associated with maternal obesity. Moreover, physical fitness moderates the relationship between body mass index and mother's obesity in children (cardiorespiratory fitness: β = - 0.006; 95% CI = (- 0.010, - 0.001); muscular strength: β = - 8.415; 95% CI = (- 12.526, - 4.304)) and in adolescents (cardiorespiratory fitness: β = - 0.004; 95% CI = (- 0.008, - 0.0008); muscular strength: β - 2.958; 95% CI = (- 5.615, - 0.030)).Conclusion: increasing physical fitness is an important strategy to protect youths from high body mass index, when their mothers are obese. What is Known: • Mother's obesity is associated with their children's body mass index. • Parents' obesity is associated with their children's physical fitness What is New: • Cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength are moderators in the relationship between mother's obesity and BMI of their children. • Children and adolescents with high cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength levels are protected against elevated body mass index, considering mother's obesity.

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