The 1990 birth cohort in Gothenburg was examined by our team when cohort members were 18-19 years old and attending the final year of secondary school. A total of 5779 students were screened in school for: weight status (waist circumference and BMI), psychosocial health (self-esteem, quality of life), and lifestyles (diet and physical activity). The screening was completed at the end of the spring 2009 academic term, resulting in complete documentation of the cohort’s growth from birth into adulthood. Specifically, combining the new survey with data from primary schools and well-baby centers, it is now possible to obtain individualized growth curves in large proportion of the 1990 birth cohort. This survey has also set the stage for comparisons between this contemporary cohort and an earlier-born (1974) cohort, whose complete growth has been similarly documented. During the time interval between the years when these two birth cohorts were growing up, Sweden first witnessed the initial phases of the childhood obesity epidemic. The following analyses are recently published or planned.
The first objective is to use data from the final examination of the 1990 birth cohort to document effects of obesity on emotional well-being. We have reported particularly low body satisfaction in girls of Nordic origin, and that having a positive body self-image was far more common in 18-19 year old males compared to females, a gender difference that increased, as expected, with increasing BMI. In fact, the only female group that was equally satisfied as their male counterparts was the group of girls that were classified as underweight. In the last examination of the 1990 birth cohort of Grow-up, we also incorporated research questions specifically related to the modern media, including phone, internet and gaming, which can be related to dimensions of physical as well as mental health. For instance in view of the reported link between quality of life, metabolic syndrome and tinnitus, it will be of interest to study hearing problems, central obesity, and the possible connection to around-the-clock media use, as recently assessed in this cohort.
The current objective in Grow-up is to scrutinize local and international weight classification systems, in order to identify which ones have optimal screening characteristics for predicting which Swedish children will become obese adults. For example the sensitivity and specificity of internationally defined cut-points may vary at different ages, and it is not known if national definitions have better screening efficiency. There are several systems in place for classification of overweight, obesity and thinness in pediatric populations: international and Swedish classifications. Additional future objectives include characterization of the 1990 birth cohort in terms previous and future socioeconomic status: early influences can be obtained via registries including parental educational and economic status; additionally we can obtain information on educational attainment of the cohort after completing secondary school. Finally, growth records of both of the Grow-up birth cohorts described here can be linked either to those of their parents (1990 cohort) or their children (1974 cohort), with linkage to the local Gothenburg archival system. In this way, multi-generational factors can be studied.
Investigators in Grow-up:
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine
• Professor Lauren Lissner, PhD student Ebba Brann
Department of Food, Nutrition and Sports Sciences
• Associate Professor Agneta Sjöberg
Department of Pediatrics
• Professor Kerstin Albertsson-Wikland (PI of Grow-up), PhD John Chaplin, PhD student Anton Holmgren MD
Lauren Lissner, 46 31-786 6847