Harmonising measures of body size and body composition

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About the research

This project explored how rates of overweight and obesity are changing across generations. To do this it harmonised different measures of body size and composition, including height, weight and body mass index (BMI), across five CLOSER studies. This allowed the project team to examine the distribution of BMI and development of obesity over an individual’s lifetime, and to compare the BMI and height of different generations.

Taking a longitudinal perspective on body size and composition is crucial when answering questions important to health policy interventions as it allows researchers to address questions such as whether the age at which individuals become overweight or obese is changing over time. The project group were also interested in the influence of socio-economic background on BMI and body composition.

Professor Rebecca Hardy

Research lead

Professor Rebecca Hardy (MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, UCL)

Studies used

Research outputs

  • A dataset containing harmonised height, weight and BMI in five longitudinal cohort studies – available to download from the UK Data Service.
  • A user guide to accompany the harmonised dataset – available to download from the UK Data Service.

Workshops

Press releases

Blogs

Papers

Johnson W, Li L, Kuh D, Hardy R. How has the age-related process of overweight or obesity development changed over time? Co-ordinated analyses of individual participant data from five United Kingdom birth cohorts. PLOS Med. 2015;12(5):e1001828. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001828 

Bann D, Johnson W, Li L, Kuh D, Hardy R. Socioeconomic inequalities in body mass index across adulthood: Coordinated analyses of individual participant data from three British birth cohort studies initiated in 1946, 1958 and 1970. PLOS Med. 2017;14(1):e1002214. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002214

Bann D, Johnson W, Li L, Kuh D, Hardy R. Socioeconomic inequalities in childhood and adolescent body-mass index, weight and height from 1953 to 2015: an analysis of four longitudinal observational, British birth cohort studies. Lancet Public Health. 2018;3(4):e194-e203 https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(18)30045-8

Read about other CLOSER data harmonisation projects.