Background/Aims: Ethnic differences in obesity prevalence have been reported. We examined ethnic differences in general and abdominal fat distribution in school-age children and the influence of parental prepregnancy, pregnancy, and childhood factors on these differences. Methods: We performed a multiethnic population-based prospective cohort study among 5,244 children with information about prepregnancy factors, pregnancy, and childhood factors. At the age of 6 years, the BMI, total fat mass, android/gynoid fat mass ratio, and preperitoneal fat mass were assessed via dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and abdominal ultrasound. Results: The overweight and obesity prevalences among Dutch children were 10.0 and 2.1%, respectively. Higher prevalences were observed among Cape Verdean (21.0 and 10.3%), Dutch Antillean (18.4 and 13.8%), Moroccan (20.6 and 7.7%), Surinamese-Creole (13.4 and 7.7%), Surinamese-Hindustani (12.3 and 6.2%), and Turkish (23.8 and 12.0%) children. In the models adjusted for age and sex only, Moroccan, Surinamese-Hindustani, and Turkish children had a higher total fat mass than Dutch children, whereas Surinamese-Creole children had a lower total fat mass. Compared to Dutch children, the android/gynoid fat mass ratio was higher in Moroccan, Surinamese-Hindustani, and Turkish children, whereas the preperitoneal fat mass was higher among Dutch Antillean, Moroccan, Surinamese-Hindustani, and Turkish children (all p < 0.05). Prepregnancy factors explained up to 73% of these differences. In addition to prepregnancy factors, pregnancy factors explained up to 34% of the differences. Childhood factors did not significantly explain these associations. Conclusions: All ethnic minority groups had higher risks of overweight and obesity than Dutch children. Moroccan, Surinamese-Hindustani, and Turkish children also had an adverse body fat profile. Prepregnancy and pregnancy might be critical periods for preventive strategies focused on the reduction of ethnic disparities in childhood adiposity.

Abdominal fat, Ethnicity, Obesity, Pediatrics, Total fat,
Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism
Generation R Study Group

Gishti, O, Kruithof, C.J, Felix, J.F, Raat, H, Hofman, A, Duijts, L, … Jaddoe, V.W.V. (2014). Ethnic disparities in general and abdominal adiposity at school age: A multiethnic population-based cohort study in the Netherlands. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 64(3-4), 208–217. doi:10.1159/000365022