The Relationship of Body Mass Index and Behavior in Children

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Marion O'Brien, Professor, Director of Family Research Center and Associate Dean for Research (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Objectives- To examine reciprocal relations between body mass index (BMI), internalizing problems and externalizing problems from infancy through middle childhood with a focus on sex and history of overweight. Study design- Data from 1254 children in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development were used to conduct longitudinal analyses of relations between BMI and scores on the Child Behavior Checklist from age two through 6th grade. Results- BMI and behavior problems showed stability across the 7 measurement occasions. No consistent relation between BMI and behavior problems was evident prior to school entry; but being heavier was associated with later internalizing problems beginning in 1st grade for boys and girls. Higher BMI was not associated with increased conduct problems. Conclusions- As children move into middle childhood, higher BMI is associated with increased likelihood of developing internalizing problems. Health care providers should monitor BMI as children enter school and to provide guidance to parents regarding emerging symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Additional Information

Journal of Pediatrics, 153(5), 629-634
Language: English
Date: 2008
obesity, internalizing problems, externalizing problems, mental health

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