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 (MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, UCL)
- 1946 MRC National Survey of Health and Development
- 1958 National Child Development Survey
- 1970 British Cohort Study
- Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children
- Millennium Cohort Study
- 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.
- Body Size and function (Session 2, Challenges for Data Harmony, January 2013)
- Harmonisation of body size data (see video below) (Session 1, Cross-cohort research: opportunities, challenges and examples workshop, Senate House, London, September 2015)
- Children from lower social classes up to 5kg heavier than their more advantaged peers, new study finds
- Generations of less advantaged children face higher risk of mid-life obesity, study finds
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.