Due to shared genes and environment, the home setting may be an effective context to provide multiple individuals at risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) with preventive efforts. The aim of this study is to investigate whether having a parent with T2D affects the BMI development from childhood through adolescence and into early adulthood.

This analysis used the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), a nationally longitudinal study of families in the U.S. We used information on diabetes status in parents, household socio-economic characteristics and sex, age and anthropometrics in children and adolescent from 2001-2015 (n=5981). Body mass index (BMI) trajectories in children were fitted using mixed-effects models. Random intercept and slope were included to account for the within-person correlation arising from the repeated measures in the dataset. We used age as the time axis and modeled change with linear, quadratic and cubic terms to account for the non-linear change in BMI.

At baseline, (mean age 12.2 years) children with a parent with T2D were 1.2 years older, had a 3.0 kg/m2 higher BMI than children with no parental T2D (p<0.01 for all tests). The differences occurred with age: There was no significant difference in BMI between the two groups up to 8 years of age. However, at age 8, children with parental diabetes had a 0.41 kg/m2 (0.20-0.61) faster annual increase in BMI than the non-exposed group’s, whose annual increase was 1.03 kg/m2 (0.94-1.11). The rate of annual BMI increase became smaller with age. A maximal separation of 2.04 kg/m2 (1.53-2.55) was reached at 15 years of age, which remained relatively stable in early adulthood.

Children with a parent with T2D as compared to children without parental T2D exhibit a faster increasing BMI trajectory that leads to significant differences in adolescent BMI. This difference persists in early adulthood, when most children no longer live with their parents. Once a parent is diagnosed with T2D, obesity and diabetes prevention may be a priority for the children as well.


J. NIelsen: None. A. Hulman: None. S.A. Cunningham: None.

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