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Stress and Obesity in Childhood
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Pediatrics . Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8738-979X
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Stress och fetma i barndomen (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Childhood obesity is a serious health problem and prevalence increases dramatically around the world, including Sweden. The aim of the current thesis was to examine parents’ and children’s stress in relation to childhood obesity. Parenting stress, social support, parental worries, and serious life events, as well as children’s temperament, self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, saliva cortisol, weight and height were measured to estimate stress and the relation between stress and childhood obesity. Data was collected as part of the cohort project All Babies in Southeast Sweden (ABIS) which main aim is to understand the causes of Type 1 Diabetes. All 21700 children born between October 1997 and October 1999 in Southeast Sweden and their parents were invited to participate and questionnaires were completed for 16070 children at birth. Questionnaires were then collected at follow-ups at 1 year (N=11078), at 2-3 years (N=8803), at 5-6 years (N=7443), and at 8 years (N=3959). The main findings were a relation between parents’ psychological stress and lower self-esteem of children, a relation between parenting stress and higher cortisol levels of children, and a relation between children’s body dissatisfaction and lower self-esteem. Another main finding was a relation between cumulative psychological stress and an increased prevalence of childhood obesity. The current thesis summarized these results, found good validity of the instruments, and the analyses did not indicate any systematic attrition due to stress. It is concluded that the psychological variables reported by parents can be used as proxies for children’s experience of stress in epidemiological studies such as ABIS, and that psychological stress seems to be a contributing factor in childhood obesity. This relation needs to be studied further in order to better understand and intervene in the current epidemic of childhood obesity. These findings may also help to better examine if psychological stress and childhood obesity are contributing factors in the etiology of Type 1 Diabetes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2009. , 85 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1100
Keyword [en]
Psychological stress, parents, children, obesity, self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, epidemiology
National Category
Pediatrics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-16926ISBN: 978-91-7393-697-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-16926DiVA: diva2:174785
Public defence
2009-03-13, Berzeliussalen, Campus US, ingång 65, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Alla Barn i Sydöstra Sverige - ABIS
Available from: 2009-03-06 Created: 2009-02-25 Last updated: 2017-11-02Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Parenting stress over time and children’s self-esteem at age 8
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Parenting stress over time and children’s self-esteem at age 8
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Parenting stress and other kinds of psychological stress were measured longitudinally from birth and related to children’s self-esteem at age 8. 3837 children answered a Swedish instrument assessing self-esteem in 5 domains. Generalized linear models showed a relation between parenting stress and lower self-esteem in all domains (e.g., cross-sectional for domain mental well-being: Odds ratio=1.76, p<.001 and longitudinal from age 1: Odds ratio=1.38, p<.001). This relation was not explained by other factors, such as serious life events, the child’s temperament or socioeconomy, and it was proposed that interventions aimed at reducing parenting stress could help children even long term.

National Category
Pediatrics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-17117 (URN)
Available from: 2009-03-06 Created: 2009-03-06 Last updated: 2017-11-02Bibliographically approved
2. Parents’ psychological stress over time may affect children’s cortisol at age 8
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Parents’ psychological stress over time may affect children’s cortisol at age 8
2010 (English)In: Journal of Pediatric Psychology, ISSN 0146-8693, E-ISSN 1465-735X, Vol. 35, no 9, 950-959 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: To study possible relations between parents’ psychological stress, children’s selfesteem and children’s saliva cortisol levels with regard to a mild stressor (drawing a blood sample).

Method: Parenting stress and serious life events at birth, age 1, age 2, age 5 and age 8, and children’s self-esteem at age 8 were assessed. 82 paired saliva samples just before and 30 minutes after a children’s blood was drawn were analyzed.

Results: Repeated measure general linear models indicated a relation between higher parenting stress at age 1 (p=0.03) and at age 8 (p<0.01), and elevated cortisol levels. No relation was found for serious life events. Lack of self-esteem in the domain of mental well-being was related to elevated cortisol levels (p=0.02).

Conclusion: Parenting stress related to elevated cortisol levels of their children cross-sectionally and longitudinally and may be used as an indicator for children’s psychological stress in epidemiological studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press, 2010
Keyword
Parenting stress; serious life events; self-esteem; saliva cortisol; blood sample
National Category
Pediatrics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-17119 (URN)10.1093/jpepsy/jsp132 (DOI)000282843100004 ()
Note
This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Pediatric Psychology following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version: Felix-Sebastian Koch, Johnny Ludvigsson and Anneli Sepa, Parents’ psychological stress over time may affect children’s cortisol at age 8, 2010, Journal of Pediatric Psychology, (35), 9, 950-959. is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jpepsy/jsp132 Copyright: Oxford University Press http://www.oxfordjournals.org/ Available from: 2009-03-06 Created: 2009-03-06 Last updated: 2017-11-02Bibliographically approved
3. Body Dissatisfaction Measured with a Figure Preference Task and Self-Esteem in 8 Year Old Children: a Study within the ABIS-Project
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Body Dissatisfaction Measured with a Figure Preference Task and Self-Esteem in 8 Year Old Children: a Study within the ABIS-Project
2008 (English)In: Clinical Medicine Insights: Pediatrics, ISSN 1179-5565, Vol. 2, 13-26 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Body dissatisfaction has been related to low self-esteem and depression in adolescents. With regard to the current world wide rise in childhood obesity and common stigmatization of adults and children with obesity, easy to use and cost effective measurements of body dissatisfaction would be helpful in epidemiological research. In the current study, detailed data on body measurements with regard to perceived and ideal body size and body dissatisfaction, as measured with the figure preference task, are presented for a population based sample of 3837 children. Perceived body size correlations to weight, body mass index [BMI], and waist circumference were between 0.41 and 0.54; and to height between 0.12 and 0.21. Odds ratios for lower self-esteem increased with increase in body dissatisfaction. Gender differences in body dissatisfaction were present but not found in relation to self-esteem. It is concluded that the figure preference task yields valuable information in epidemiological studies of children as young as 7.5 years of age. It is argued, that the figure preference task is an additional measurement which theoretically relates to psychological stress in childhood.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Auckland, New Zealand: Libertas Academica Ltd., 2008
Keyword
body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, reliability, epidemiology, psychological stress
National Category
Pediatrics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-16924 (URN)
Available from: 2009-02-24 Created: 2009-02-24 Last updated: 2017-11-02Bibliographically approved
4. Psychological Stress and Obesity
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Psychological Stress and Obesity
2008 (English)In: Journal of Pediatrics, ISSN 0022-3476, E-ISSN 1097-6833, Vol. 153, no 6, 839-844 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: To examine whether there is a relationship between psychological stress in the family and obesity in 5- to 6-year-old children.

Study design: A total of 7443 Swedish families reported on psychological stress across 4 domains as part of the prospective All Babies in Southeast Sweden-project (ABIS). Domains assessed included serious life events, parenting stress, lack of social support, and parental worries. These variables were summarized in cross-sectional and longitudinal composite measures of psychological stress. Logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios for childhood obesity for psychological stress.

Results: A total of 4.2% of the children were obese according to age-adjusted international standards. Children from families that reported stress in at least 2 of the 4 domains assessed had significantly higher adjusted odds ratios (OR) for obesity, both cross-sectionally (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.3-3.5; P < .01.) and longitudinally (OR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.3-5.4, P < .01).

Conclusion: Psychological stress in the family may be a contributing factor for childhood obesity. This finding underscores how important it is to give children with obesity and their families psychological and social support in addition to recommendations about changing life style.

Keyword
Serious life events, Parenting stress, Social support, Parental worries
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-16250 (URN)10.1016/j.jpeds.2008.06.016 (DOI)
Note
Original Publication: Felix Koch, Anneli Sepa and Johnny Ludvigsson , Psychological Stress and Obesity, 2008, JOURNAL OF PEDIATRICS, (153), 6, 839-844. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2008.06.016 Copyright: Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam http://www.elsevier.com/ Available from: 2009-02-23 Created: 2009-01-09 Last updated: 2017-11-02Bibliographically approved

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