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A within-sibling pair analysis of lifestyle behaviours and BMI z-score in the multi-centre I.Family study

Journal article
Authors L. H. Bogl
Kirsten Mehlig
T. Intemann
G. Masip
A. Keski-Rahkonen
R. Russo
N. Michels
L. Reisch
V. Pala
L. Johnson
D. Molnar
M. Tornaritis
T. Veidebaum
L. Moreno
W. Ahrens
Lauren Lissner
J. Kaprio
A. Hebestreit
I. Family Consortium I. Family Consortium
Published in Nutrition Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Volume 29
Issue 6
Pages 580-589
ISSN 0939-4753
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Pages 580-589
Language en
Keywords Overweight-discordant, Sibling pairs, Twin pairs, Body mass index, Energy intake, MVPA, body-mass index, energy-intake, physical-activity, european children, dietary-intake, obesity, association, overweight, weight, risk, Cardiovascular System & Cardiology, Endocrinology & Metabolism, Nutrition & Dietetics
Subject categories Nutrition and Dietetics, Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems


Background and aims: By investigating differences in lifestyle behaviours and BMI in sibling pairs, family-level confounding is minimized and causal inference is improved, compared to cross-sectional studies of unrelated children. Thus, we aimed to investigate within-sibling pair differences in different lifestyle behaviours and differences in BMI z-scores in children and adolesents. Methods and results: We examined three groups of sibling pairs 1) all same-sex sibling pairs with maximum 4 years age difference (n = 1209 pairs from 1072 families in 8 countries, mean age 10.7 years, standard deviation 2.4 years), 2) sibling pairs discordant for overweight (n = 262) and 3) twin pairs (n = 85). Usual dietary intake was estimated by 24-h recalls and time spent in light (LPA) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was measured by accelerometers. Screen time, sleep and dieting for weight loss were assessed by questionnaires. Within all 3 groups of sibling pairs, more time in MVPA was associated with lower BMI z-score. Higher energy intake was associated with higher BMI z-score within twin pairs and within all sibling pairs who were not currently dieting for weight loss. Regarding LPA, screen time or sleep duration, no or inconsistent associations were observed for the three groups of sibling pairs. Conclusions: MVPA and energy intake were associated with BMI differences within sibling and twin pairs growing up in the same home, thus independent of family-level confounding factors. Future studies should explore whether genetic variants regulating appetite or energy expenditure behaviours account for weight differences in sibling pairs. (C) 2019 The Italian Society of Diabetology, the Italian Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis, the Italian Society of Human Nutrition, and the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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