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Title: The impact of childhood obesity on long-term health burden in the UK
Author: Park, Min Hae
Awarding Body: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Current Institution: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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In the UK, 7-10% of the child and adolescent population are currently considered obese according to International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) definitions, and this proportion is expected to rise to 14% over the next 20 years. Childhood obesity is associated with complications including dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, and respiratory problems, and childhood body mass index (BMI) is correlated with BMI in adulthood. However, the ways in which overweight and obesity in early life impact on long-term health are not well understood. This thesis reviews the current evidence for the associations between overweight in childhood and disease outcomes in adulthood, and discusses the limitations of methods that have commonly been used to examine this topic. To investigate the effects of childhood and adolescent overweight on long-term health, pooled data from three British National Birth Cohorts (the 1946 National Survey of Health and Development, 1958 National Child Development Study, and 1970 British Cohort Study) are analysed. The findings of this analysis indicate that being overweight in childhood and adolescence may contribute to increased risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease, but not hypertension or non-cardiovascular outcomes. Projections from a micro-simulation model show that overweight and obesity in the current UK child population could present a substantial burden in terms of disease prevalence and healthcare costs by the year 2050, and the effects of different obesity interventions on long-term burden are explored. Overweight and obesity in childhood may have important implications for long-term cardiovascular risk, and current trends in childhood obesity prevalence are likely to have a substantial impact on long-term health burden in the UK. Early intervention to reduce overweight in childhood is likely to have an important role in reducing future obesity-related disease burden.
Supervisor: Kinra, S. Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral