Childhood obesity and device-measured sedentary behavior: an instrumental variable analysis of 3,864 mother-offspring pairs

Mark Hamer*, Sebastien Chastin, Russell M. Viner, Emmanuel Stamatakis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
61 Downloads (Pure)


OBJECTIVE: Intergenerational data on mother-offspring pairs were utilized in an instrumental variable analysis to examine the longitudinal association between BMI and sedentary behavior.

METHODS: The sample included 3,864 mother-offspring pairs from the 1970 British Cohort Study. Height and weight were recorded in mothers (age 31 [5.4] years) and offspring (age 10 years) and repeated in offspring during adulthood. Offspring provided objective data on sedentary behavior (7-day thigh-worn activPAL) in adulthood at age 46 to 47 years.

RESULTS: Maternal BMI, the instrumental variable, was associated with offspring BMI at age 10 (change per kg/m2 , β = 0.11; 95% CI: 0.09 to 0.12), satisfying a key assumption of instrumental variable analyses. Offspring (change per kg/m2 , β = 0.010; 95% CI: -0.02 to 0.03 h/d) and maternal BMI (β = 0.017; 95% CI: 0.001 to 0.03 h/d) was related to offspring sedentary time, suggestive of a causal impact of BMI on sedentary behavior (two-stage least squares analysis, β = 0.18 [SE 0.08], P = 0.015). For moderate-vigorous physical activity, there were associations with offspring BMI (β = -0.010; 95% CI: -0.017 to -0.004) and maternal BMI (β = -0.007; 95% CI: -0.010 to -0.003), with evidence for causality (two-stage least squares analysis, β = -0.060 [SE 0.02], P = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: There is strong evidence for a causal pathway linking childhood obesity to greater sedentary behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-225
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Early online date1 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • body weight
  • causality
  • child
  • cohort studies
  • England
  • female
  • humans
  • male
  • middle aged
  • mothers
  • pediatric obesity
  • Scotland
  • sedentary behavior
  • Wales

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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