Parental care in Childhood and Obesity in Adulthood: A Study Among Twins

Marianne Vámosi, Kirsten Ohm Kyvik, Berit Lilienthal Heitmann, Mikael Thinggaard

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The purpose of the study was to examine if parental antipathy and neglect during childhood were associated with obesity in adulthood. From the Danish Twin Registry 146 adult same-sexed twin pairs discordant for Body Mass Index (BMI) were identified. Criteria for being discordant were that one of the twins should have a BMI between 20 and 25 kg/m² (normal weight) and the co-twin a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m² (obesity). In total 236 out of 289 (81.7%) eligible twin individuals participated in an interview and a physical examination.
A part of the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse, the parental care and neglect questionnaire, by Bifulco et al, was used to assess perceived parental antipathy and neglect. Data were analyzed by means of intra-pair comparisons.
Our results showed that recalled maternal antipathy (p = 0.04) and maternal neglect (p= 0.01) were both associated with adult obesity. Paternal neglect and antipathy were not related with adult obesity.
The study demonstrates that experience in childhood maternal antipathy and neglect may contribute to the development of obesity at age 20 and later in adulthood.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1445-50
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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