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Effect of choice of outcome measure on studies of the etiology of obesity in children

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Laura BasterfieldORCiD, Professor Mark PearceORCiD, Professor Ashley AdamsonORCiD, Jessica Reilly, Dr Kathryn Parkinson


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Purpose: Epidemiologic studies of the etiology of childhood obesity often use proxies for adiposity as outcomes. This study aimed to compare the ability of a range of proxy measures to detect associations with sedentary behavior. Methods: Longitudinal study of children in the Gateshead Millennium Study who were 7 years at baseline and 9 years at follow-up. Associations between 2-year changes in objectively measured sedentary behavior and changes in proxies for adiposity (waist circumference, waist Z score, body mass index, body mass index Z score) and measurement of body composition (fat mass index from bioelectric impedance) were examined. Associations were tested with linear regression. Results: Associations between 2-year increases in sedentary behavior and increases in adiposity were detectable by using the fat mass index as the outcome, but not the simple proxy measures of adiposity, as outcomes. Conclusions: Proxy measures are inferior to measures of body composition as outcomes in epidemiologic studies. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Basterfield L, Pearce MS, Adamson AJ, Reilly JK, Parkinson KN, Reilly JJ, Gateshead Millennium Study Core Team

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Annals of Epidemiology

Year: 2012

Volume: 22

Issue: 12

Pages: 888-891

Print publication date: 01/12/2012

ISSN (print): 1047-2797

ISSN (electronic): 1873-2585

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2012.09.007


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Funder referenceFunder name
British Heart Foundation
Department of Health
Diabetes UK
Food Standards Agency
Gateshead NHS Trust RD
Medical Research Council
Wear NHS Trust
Welsh Assembly Government
World Cancer Research Fund
Cancer Research UK
Economic and Social Research Council
National Prevention Research Initiative
Northern and Yorkshire NHS RD
Northumberland, Tyne
Research and Development Office for the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services
CZH/4/484Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Government Health Directorates