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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Shifts in BMI category and associated cardiometabolic risk: prospective results from HEALTHY study

item Marcus, Marsha
item Foster, Gary
item El Ghormli, Laure
item Baranowski, Tom
item Goldberg, Linn
item Jago, Russell
item Linder, Barbara
item Steckler, Allan
item Trevino, Roberto

Submitted to: Pediatrics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/12/2011
Publication Date: 4/1/2012
Citation: Marcus, M.D., Foster, G.D., El Ghormli, L., Baranowski, T., Goldberg, L., Jago, R., Linder, B., Steckler, A., Trevino, R. 2012. Shifts in BMI category and associated cardiometabolic risk: prospective results from HEALTHY study. Pediatrics. 129(4):e983-e991.

Interpretive Summary: A dominant impression is that weight increases throughout childhood with substantial bad consequences for a child's blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes risk factors. This study showed that from the beginning of the 6th grade to the end of 8th grade, although most children stayed in their BMI category, 36% of overweight kids changed to a healthy weight category, and their risk factors reflected this healthy change. More needs to be learned about how some children were able to lower their weight from 6th to 8th grades.

Technical Abstract: The objective was to evaluate shifts across BMI categories and associated changes in cardiometabolic risk factors over 2.5 years in an ethnically diverse middle school sample. As part of HEALTHY, a multisite school-based study designed to mitigate risk for type 2 diabetes, 3993 children participated in health screenings at the start of sixth and end of eighth grades. Assessments included anthropometric measures, blood pressure, and glucose, insulin, and lipids. Students were classified as underweight, healthy weight,overweight, obese, or severely obese. Mixed models controlling for school intervention status and covariates were used to evaluate shifts in BMI category over time and the relation between these shifts and changes in risk factors. At baseline, students averaged 11.3 (60.6) years; 47.6% were boys, 59.6% were Hispanic, and 49.8% were overweight or obese.Shifts in BMI category over time were common. For example, 35.7% of youth who were overweight moved to the healthy weight range, but 13% in the healthy weight range became overweight. BMI shifts were not associated with school intervention condition, household education,or youth gender, race/ethnicity, pubertal status, or changes in height. Increases in BMI category were associated with worsening of cardiometabolic risk factors, and decreases were associated with improvements. Boys who increased BMI category were more vulnerable to negative risk factor changes than girls. In conclusion, there are substantial shifts across BMI categories during middle school that are associated with clinically meaningful changes in cardiometabolic risk factors. Programs to promote decreases in BMI and prevent increases are clearly warranted.

Last Modified: 06/26/2017
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