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Patterns of BMI development between 10-42 years of age and their determinants in the 1970 British Cohort Study

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journal contribution
posted on 16.10.2018, 09:22 by Russell M. Viner, Silvia CostaSilvia Costa, Will JohnsonWill Johnson
Background Mixture modelling is a useful approach to identify sub-groups in a population who share similar trajectories. We aimed to identify distinct BMI trajectories between 10-42 years and investigate how known early-life risk factors are related to trajectories. Methods Sample: 9,187 participants in the 1970 British Birth Cohort Study, with BMI observations between 10-42 years and data on birth-weight, parental BMI, socioeconomic status (SES), breastfeeding and puberty. Latent growth mixture modelling in Mplus was used to model age-related BMI trajectories and test associations of risk factors with trajectory membership. Results A three latent class model was most credible; 1) Normative: 92%: started normal weight but gradually increased BMI to become overweight in adulthood; 2) Childhood onset persistent obesity (COP): 4%: persistently high BMI from childhood; 3) Adolescent and young adulthood onset obesity (AYAO): 4%: normal weight in childhood but had a steep ascending trajectory. Higher maternal and paternal BMI and early puberty increased the probability of being in either the COP or the AYAO classes compared with the normative class. Conclusion Most individuals gradually increased BMI and became overweight in mid-adulthood. Only 8% demonstrated more severe BMI trajectories. Further research is needed to understand the underlying body composition changes and health risks in the COP and AYAO classes.


WJ is supported by a UK Medical Research Council (MRC) New Investigator Research Grant (MR/P023347/1), and acknowledges support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, which is a partnership between University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Loughborough University, and the University of Leicester. SC’s work was funded by the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), a UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health


VINER, R.M., COSTA, S. and JOHNSON, W.O., 2018. Patterns of BMI development between 10-42 years of age and their determinants in the 1970 British Cohort Study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 73(1), pp. 79–85.


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This article has been accepted for publication in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 2018 following peer review, and the Version of Record can be accessed online at