Is there a deprivation and maternal education gradient to child obesity and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity? Findings from the Millennium Cohort Study

Type Article

Journal Article


R. J. Noonan; S. J. Fairclough

Year of publication



Pediatr Obes








OBJECTIVE: The primary aim was to examine associations between individual-level and area-level measures of socioeconomic status (SES) and different measures of overweight/obesity in 7-year-old English children. A secondary aim was to examine associations between individual-level and area-level measures of SES and moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA). METHODS: Data were from wave four of the Millennium Cohort Study. Children were classified as normal weight, overweight/obese and centrally obese. MVPA was accelerometer derived. Individual-level and area-level SES were defined using self-reported maternal education and the 2004 English Indices of Multiple Deprivation, respectively. Adjusted linear and multinomial logistic regressions were conducted. RESULTS: Three thousand seven hundred seventeen children (1890 girls) had complete data. Children in the lowest maternal education group and highest deprivation decile were at greatest risk of overweight and central obesity. MVPA was inversely associated with deprivation, and the most deprived children were most likely to achieve 60 min of daily MVPA. CONCLUSIONS: Individual-level and area-level SES were independently related to overweight and central obesity. Higher rates of overweight and central obesity among deprived children are not due to physical inactivity. Further research examining the concurrent effect of diet and MVPA on child weight status by deprivation is warranted.