Birth weight and childhood obesity: effect modification by residence and household wealth

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Background: There are both genetic and environmental factors which contribute to a child’s chances of being obese. When low birth weight (LBW) has been specifically evaluated relative to its association with childhood obesity, the results have produced conflicting findings. This study aims to describe the relationship between birth weight and childhood obesity and investigate the influence that residence and household wealth has on this relationship. Methods: I performed a secondary analysis on the 2013 Riskesdas (or Basic Health Research), a cross-sectional, nationally representative survey of the Indonesian population. Height, weight, information regarding child’s birth weight, and basic characteristics of the study population were collected from parents with children aged 0 to 5 years (n = 63,237) in 2013. The exposure was child’s birth weight and the outcomes were child’s current weight, BMI z-score, and obesity. Data were analyzed by using multiple linear regression and multiple logistic regression. Results: I found a significant increase in the weight, BMI z-score, and risk of childhood obesity to be associated with LBW. LBW children in rural area were associated with higher BMI z-score (mean ± standard error: 1.44 ± 0.02) and higher odds (odds ratio (95% confidence interval): 7.46 (6.77–8.23)) of obesity than those in urban area. LBW children from low class families were associated with higher BMI z-score (1.79 ± 0.04) and had higher odds (14.79 (12.47–17.54)) of obesity than those from middle class and wealthy families. Conclusions: Effective prevention and intervention to childhood obesity as early as possible are imperative. As far as this study was concerned, efforts, policies, and targets are required to reduce the prevalence of LBW. Children born of LBW, who live in a rural area and from low income families, should be emphatically intervened as early as possible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalEmerging Themes in Epidemiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Household wealth
  • Indonesia
  • Low birth weight
  • Obesity
  • Urban–rural


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