Childhood locus of control and self-esteem, education, psychological distress and physical exercise as predictors of adult obesity
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of public health. 2019, 41 (3), 439-446. 10.1093/pubmed/fdy125
Objective To investigate to what extent locus of control, self-esteem, psychological distress, physical exercise, as well as socio-demographic factors are associated with obesity in 42-year-old adults in a longitudinal birth cohort study. Method The sample consisted of 5645 participants born in Great Britain in 1970 and followed up at 10, 34 and 42 years with data on body mass index measured at 34 and 42 years. Results There was an increase of adult obesity from 15.5% at age 34 to 21.2% at 42 years. Locus of control and self-esteem measured at age 10 years, psychological distress and educational qualifications assessed at age 34, and current occupational levels and physical exercise were all significantly associated with adult obesity at age 42. The associations remained significant after controlling for birth weight and gestation, maternal and paternal BMI, childhood BMI, and intelligence. Conclusion Childhood locus of control and self-esteem, educational qualifications, psychological distress and physical exercise were all significantly and independently associated with adult obesity.