Poor childhood co-ordination 'ups obesity risk'

Poor physical control and coordination in childhood could increase the risk of developing obesity in later life, joint Swedish and UK research suggests.

Previous studies have suggested that poor cognitive function in childhood could be linked to type-2 diabetes in adults.

This latest study looked at 11,042 participants born during in 1958. A total of 7,990 participants were assessed by teachers at age seven to identify poor control and coordination, and 6,875 were tested for coordination skills at age 11 by a doctor.

Measurements of BMI were taken at the age of 33.

After adjusting for other risk factors such as social class, children who showed poor hand control and poor coordination at the age of seven were more likely to become obese adults.

Poorer function at the age of 11 was also associated with obesity at the age of 33.

The researchers suggest that some early life exposures, such as maternal smoking during pregnancy, may impair the development of physical control and coordination, as well as increasing the risk of obesity in later life.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

BMJ Online 2008

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