Dr. Mary Schooling, a professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) and a team of colleagues, including Dr. Ichiro Kawachi, the John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Social Epidemiology at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, conducted an age-period-cohort analysis of trends in blood pressure and body mass index in children and adolescents in Hong Kong. The work was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
The team assessed the relative contribution of age, period, and cohort to secular trends in blood pressure in children and adolescents (9 – 18 years) from 1999 to 2014 and body mass index (6 – 18 years) from 1996 to 2014 in Hong Kong, China. After accounting for age, period, effects contributed more than cohort effects to a rising trend in body mass index which leveled off recently. Earlier cohorts (born in 1983 – 1984) had higher blood pressure and body mass index than later cohorts.
The team concluded that with globalization and associated lifestyle changes, successive generations of children and adolescents in a recently developed Chinese setting had lower blood pressure and body mass index. This fall was offset until recently by a population-wide increase in body mass index. School-based health promotion efforts could have partly mitigated the population-wide rise in child and adolescent body mass index, while socioeconomic transition or other factors could be relevant to changes in blood pressure between generations.”Different temporal trends in blood pressure and body mass index in children suggest differing causes beyond diet and lifestyle,” summarizes Dr. Schooling.
Explaining these trends will help identify early-life factors that may contribute to a healthier start as well as contemporaneous factors that may protect against rising trends in adiposity.