To examine the impact of chronicity of maternal intimate partner violence (IPV) on obesity risk among preschool-aged children.
Prospective cohort study.
Several large US cities.
A subsample of the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study participants (n = 1595), who were children born between 1998 and 2000 and their parents interviewed at baseline and at 12, 36, and 60 months.
Maternal report of restrictive, sexual, and physical abuse from an intimate partner. Chronic IPV was defined as any maternal IPV exposure during both pregnancy or infancy (0-12 months) and early childhood (36-60 months).
Main Outcome Measure
Repeated measures of child body mass index.
Among the 1595 children, 16.5% were obese at age 5 years and 49.4% of the mothers reported some form of IPV. Compared with those who had no IPV exposure, children whose mothers reported chronic IPV had an elevated risk for obesity at age 5 years (adjusted odds ratio = 1.80; 95% confidence interval, 1.24-2.61). Stratified analyses indicated increased risk for obesity among girls with a maternal history of chronic IPV (adjusted odds ratio = 2.21; 95% confidence interval, 1.30-3.75) compared with boys (adjusted odds ratio = 1.66; 95% confidence interval, 0.94-2.93) and a larger effect of any maternal IPV on obesity among children living in less safe neighborhoods (adjusted odds ratio = 1.56; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-2.36).
Chronic maternal IPV is associated with increased risk of obesity among preschool-aged children. Preventing family violence and improving community safety may help reduce childhood obesity.