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Exposure to Maternal Depression during Early Childhood and Risk for Childhood Overweight

Henry, Chad (2013) Exposure to Maternal Depression during Early Childhood and Risk for Childhood Overweight. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Background: Childhood obesity has tripled in the United States between 1963 and 2008 and is an important public health issue. Recently maternal depression has been explored as a possible risk factor for childhood obesity, but the results have been inconsistent. These inconsistencies might be related to methodological issues, specifically, the use of one measurement of depression.
Objective: To evaluate the relationship between multiple exposures to maternal depression from age 3 to age 5 and a child’s risk for being overweight at age 7.
Methods: We used data from the Early Steps Project, a longitudinal study exploring the impact of the Family Check Up on a child’s risk for behavior problems. Maternal depression was assessed at age 3, 4, and 5 with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Elevated maternal symptomology was determined by a CESD score > 27. Childhood BMI was measured at age 7. Childhood overweight was determined by a BMI z score >= 85%. Logistic regression was used to explore the relationship between the total number of exposures between age 3 and 5 and risk for childhood overweight at age 7.
Results: 442 children had consistent female caregivers at all assessment and BMI assessed at age 7 and were included in the study. 68.6% of the children had no exposures to maternal depression, 17.2% had 1 exposure, 9.7% had 2 exposures, and 4.5% had 3 exposures. 34.0% of those with no exposures were overweight, 23.7% of those with 1 exposure were overweight, 39.5% of those with 2 exposures were overweight, and 55.0% of those with 3 exposures where overweight. Logistic regression was used to explore the relationship between multiple exposures (ages 3-5) to maternal depression and childhood overweight at age 7. Only those exposed 3 times were at a greater risk childhood overweight when compared to children with no exposures (OR = 2.58, 95% CI = 1.01-6.61).
Conclusions: Exposure to maternal depression is related to an increase in risk for childhood overweight, but only when it is chronic. Interventions should incorporate maternal mental health when dealing with childhood obesity.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBromberger, Joycebrombergerjt@upmc.eduJBROM
Committee MemberShaw, Danielcasey@pitt.eduCASEY
Committee MemberBodnar, Lisabodnar@edc.pitt.eduLBODNAR
Date: 27 June 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 April 2013
Approval Date: 27 June 2013
Submission Date: 17 April 2013
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 36
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Maternal depression, childhood obesity
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2013 18:18
Last Modified: 01 May 2018 05:15

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