A longitudinal analysis of the impact of childhood stress on weight status among Chinese youth

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Abstract

Limited research has explored longitudinal impact of stress on negative health outcomes, including overweight and obesity in Asian societies. Using data from a longitudinal school-based health promotion study conducted in Wuhan, China from 1999 to 2004, this study investigated the longitudinal effects of childhood stress exposure, including stressors related to school, family, peers, violence and health on overweight, and obesity risk during the transition to adolescence among 2179 Chinese adolescents. Results showed that health stressors were consistently related to higher BMI Z score for both boys and girls baseline, it also predicted higher likelihood of overweight status over time for girls. This finding highlights a particularly challenging time period for girls, suggesting a particular challenging time they face at the intersection of puberty and demanding school environment.

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