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.

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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