Loughborough University
s41366-022-01237-6.pdf (1.06 MB)
Download file

The associations of maternal and paternal obesity with latent patterns of offspring BMI development between 7 and 17 years of age: pooled analyses of cohorts born in 1958 and 2001 in the United Kingdom

Download (1.06 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-01-13, 14:09 authored by Will JohnsonWill Johnson, Snehal Pinto Perreira, Silvia CostaSilvia Costa, Jennifer Baker, Tom Norris


We aimed to 1) describe how the UK obesity epidemic reflects a change over time in the proportion of the population demonstrating adverse latent patterns of BMI development and 2) investigate the potential roles of maternal and paternal BMI in this secular process.


We used serial BMI data between 7 and 17 years of age from 13220 boys and 12711 girls. Half the sample was born in 1958 and half in 2001. Sex-specific growth mixture models were developed. The relationships of maternal and paternal BMI and weight status with class membership were estimated using the 3-step BCH approach, with covariate adjustment.


The selected models had five classes. For each sex, in addition to the two largest normal weight classes, there were “normal weight increasing to overweight” (17% of boys and 20% of girls), “overweight increasing to obesity” (8% and 6%), and “overweight decreasing to normal weight” (3% and 6%) classes. More than 1-in-10 children from the 2001 birth cohort were in the “overweight increasing to obesity” class, compared to less than 1-in-30 from the 1958 birth cohort. Approximately 75% of the mothers and fathers of this class had overweight or obesity. When considered together, both maternal and paternal BMI were associated with latent class membership, with evidence of negative departure from additivity (i.e., the combined effect of maternal and paternal BMI was smaller than the sum of the individual effects). The odds of a girl belonging to the “overweight increasing to obesity” class (compared to the largest normal weight class) was 13.11 (8.74, 19.66) times higher if both parents had overweight or obesity (compared to both parents having normal weight); the equivalent estimate for boys was 9.01 (6.37, 12.75).


The increase in obesity rates in the UK over more than 40 years has been partly driven by the growth of a sub-population demonstrating excess BMI gain during adolescence. Our results implicate both maternal and paternal BMI as correlates of this secular process.


Body size trajectories and cardio-metabolic resilience to obesity in three United Kingdom birth cohorts

Medical Research Council

Find out more...

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre

How will the obesity epidemic influence healthy ageing? The potential for health behaviours to alleviate the obesity burden across generations

Medical Research Council

Find out more...

Novo Nordisk Foundation (NNF21OC0067346)



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

International Journal of Obesity






Springer Nature


  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Author(s)

Publisher statement

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Acceptance date


Publication date


Copyright date







  • en


Dr Will Johnson. Deposit date: 31 October 2022

Usage metrics

    Loughborough Publications