Child–Parent Resemblance in Body Weight Weaker in Minorities

Qi Zhang, Ph.D. Associate Professor School of Community and Environmental Health Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Qi Zhang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
School of Community and Environmental Health
Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA


Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Zhang: This study found the child-parent resemblance in body weight status varied by socio-demographics in the U.S. In short, the resemblance in BMI is weaker in minorities, older children and lower socioeconomic groups.

Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Zhang: One hypothesis is that obese parents with higher socioeconomic status may be able to afford healthier food choices or life styles so the child-parent resemblance may be weaker in higher socioeconomic status groups. However, our results indicate that is not the case. Children from lower socioeconomic status families were less likely to resemble their parents than peers from higher socioeconomic status families.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Zhang: Our report may help clinicians or dieticians design more effective parent-child joint intervention to reduce obesity among adults and children. Because of the similar food environment, eating behavior, and life styles, child and parent may be jointly targeted to maintain healthy weight. Our results indicate families with certain sociodemographics may be more responsive to these joint interventions than other families.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Zhang: More research is needed to fully understand the mechanism how the child-parent resemblance varies across socio-demographics. Moreover, this study basically applies only to U.S. populations. It will be interesting to examine the child-parent resemblance across countries.

Citation:

Does child–parent resemblance in body weight status vary by sociodemographic factors in the USA?

Qi Zhang, Rajan Lamichhane, Hsin-Jen Chen, Hong Xue, Youfa Wang

J Epidemiol Community Health jech-2013-203476Published Online First: 24 July 2014 doi:10.1136/jech-2013-203476

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