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Open Access Study protocol

Study protocol: the relation of birth weight and infant growth trajectories with physical fitness, physical activity and sedentary behavior at 8-9 years of age - the ABCD study

Arend W van Deutekom12*, Mai JM Chinapaw3, Tanja GM Vrijkotte4 and Reinoud JBJ Gemke12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatrics, EMGO Institute for Health & Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2 Institute for Cardiovascular Research VU, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

3 Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO institute for Health & Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

4 Department of Public Health, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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BMC Pediatrics 2013, 13:102  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-102

Published: 9 July 2013

Abstract

Background

Low birth weight and accelerated infant growth have been identified as independent risk factors for childhood and adult obesity and cardiovascular disease. This led to the ‘Developmental Origins of Health and Disease’ (DOHaD) hypothesis, stating that environmental factors during pregnancy and early postnatal life affect disease risk in later life. There is growing evidence that perinatal factors may influence adult health through the programming of energy balance regulation, including sedentary behavior and physical activity. The present study focuses on the influence of birth weight and infant growth on physical fitness, physical activity and sedentary behavior in 8-9 year old children, as this might partly explain the higher obesity and cardiovascular risk associated with low birth weight and accelerated infant growth. In addition, this study provides the opportunity for a validation study of a linguistic and cross-cultural translated physical activity questionnaire compared to accelerometer data. This article describes the study protocol for this study.

Methods/Design

This is a study embedded in the Amsterdam Born Children and their Development (ABCD) birth cohort. In 200 children of Dutch ethnicity, physical fitness, physical activity and sedentary behavior were assessed at age 8-9. We measured aerobic fitness using the 20 meter multistage shuttle run test, and neuromuscular fitness using the standing broad jump and handgrip strength test. Sedentary behavior and physical activity levels were measured using accelerometry. All children also completed a translated physical activity questionnaire, the scores of which will be compared to accelerometry data to assess the construct validity of the questionnaire in Dutch school-aged children.

Discussion

This study will be the first population-based prospective cohort study to address the association of both prenatal and postnatal growth with physical fitness and objectively-assessed physical activity and sedentary behavior. This will contribute to a better understanding of the way perinatal growth relate to lifestyle and obesity in later life. The results may guide both future studies in the field of DOHaD, and public health strategies in the prevention of childhood obesity.

Keywords:
Developmental origins of health and disease; Birth weight; Child growth; Physical fitness; Muscle strength; Aerobic fitness; Physical activity; Sedentary behavior; Physical activity questionnaire