AIM: Little is known about whether the socio-economic status of parents is linked to their children becoming overweight. This study examined the association between parents' educational level and overweight Danish children in a nationally representative sample. METHODS: Body mass index was calculated for a random sample of 512 children aged from four to 14 from the Danish National Survey of Diet and Physical Activity 2005-2008. Their parents provided weight and height data during an interview, together with details of their own educational level. Children were classified as overweight/obese in accordance with the International Obesity Task Force. Frequency estimates of prevalence and logistic regression models were used to correlate childhood overweight/obesity with the mothers' and fathers' educational levels as the main outcome measures. RESULTS: Danish mothers tended to be more highly educated than fathers and their educational level was inversely associated with their child being overweight, especially if it was a boy. However, the highest educational level of the parents was the only significant educational variable, suggesting that education was associated with overweight children irrespective of the gender of the parent. CONCLUSION: Public health initiatives should target parents with low educational levels to prevent, and reduce, social inequality in overweight children.
Acta Paediatrica, 2014, Vol 103, Issue 10, p. 1083-1088
Childhood obesity; Scandinavia; Maternal education; Paternal education; Socio-economic status