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Maternal and child factors associated with child body fatness in a Ghanaian cohort

  • Sika M Kumordzie (a1), Harriet Okronipa (a1), Mary Arimond (a1) (a2), Seth Adu-Afarwuah (a3), Maku E Ocansey (a1), Rebecca R Young (a1), Helena J Bentil (a3), Solace M Tamakloe (a3), Brietta M Oaks (a1) (a4) and Kathryn G Dewey (a1)...



We aimed to identify factors (child diet, physical activity; maternal BMI) associated with body composition of Ghanaian pre-school children.


Longitudinal analysis of the International Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplements (iLiNS)-DYAD-Ghana randomized trial, which enrolled 1320 pregnant women at ≤20 weeks’ gestation and followed them and their infants until 6 and 18 months postpartum, respectively. At follow-up, child age 4–6 years, we collected data on body composition (by 2H dilution), physical activity and diet, extracted dietary patterns using factor analysis, and examined the association of children’s percentage body fat with maternal and child factors by regression analysis.


Eastern Region, Ghana.


Children 4–6 years of age.


The analysis included 889 children with percentage body fat and dietary data at follow-up. We identified two major dietary patterns, a snacking and a cooked foods pattern. Percentage body fat was positively associated (standardized β (se)) with maternal BMI at follow-up (0·10 (0·03); P = 0·003) and negatively associated with physical activity (−0·15 (0·05); P = 0·003, unadjusted for child gender), but not associated with the snacking (0·06 (0·03); P = 0·103) or cooked foods (−0·05 (0·07); P = 0·474) pattern. Boys were more active than girls (1470 v. 1314 mean vector magnitude counts/min; P < 0·0001) and had lower percentage body fat (13·8 v. 16·9 %; P < 0·0001).


In this population, maternal overweight and child physical activity, especially among girls, may be key factors for addressing child overweight/obesity. We did not demonstrate a relationship between the dietary patterns and body fatness, which may be related to limitations of the dietary data available.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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