Distinct age-related patterns of overweight development to guide school health care interventions
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CitationHäkkänen, Paula. But, Anna. Ketola, Eeva. Laatikainen, Tiina. (2019). Distinct age-related patterns of overweight development to guide school health care interventions. Acta paediatrica, [Epub ahead of print 17 Oct 2019], 10.1111/apa.15036.
We aimed to identify groups of primary school children with similar overweight development, reveal age‐related patterns of overweight development in the resulting groups and analyse overweight‐related school healthcare interventions.
This retrospective longitudinal register study utilised electronic health records from six primary school years. From a random sample of 2000 sixth graders, we derived a study cohort of 508 children meeting criteria for overweight at least once during primary school. We investigated how many different groups (latent classes) of children with similar weight development would emerge by applying flexible latent class mixed models on body mass index standard deviation score. We also explored the resulting groups with respect to offered overweight‐related interventions.
Per child, the data consisted in median 7 growth measurements over 5.4 years. We identified five overweight development groups for girls and four for boys. The groups converged temporarily around age 10 after which only some continued into obesity. School nurses and physicians offered overweight‐related interventions to children with obesity, less to children gaining weight or with overweight.
Obesity prevention might benefit from awareness of typical overweight development patterns when designing intervention studies or planning and timing multidisciplinary school health check programmes.