All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Richard Shewchuk

Advisory Committee Members

Jeroan Allison

Meredith Kilgore

Stephen O'Connor

Bisakha Sen

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Health Professions


The level of childhood obesity in the United States is at epidemic proportions. Most population studies looking at the factors contributing to childhood obesity focus on obesity as a dichotomous outcome. The purpose of this study is to test for the effects of maternal prenatal insult behaviors on the growth trajectory of a sample of children 5-12 years of age in the United States. This is the first known study to use a latent growth curve model and a cohort-concurrent analytical design to test the association between maternal prenatal insult behaviors and the annual longitudinal increase in body mass index (BMI) growth in children with biennial BMI measurements. Empirical results conclude that children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy have a higher rate of BMI growth than children born of mothers who did not smoke. Equally important is the conclusion that children born of mothers who quit smoking prior to pregnancy have a BMI growth trajectory that is very similar to children born of mothers who never smoked or quit prior to a year before giving birth. Additional significant covariates of the child BMI growth trajectory are observed within the domains of the mother’s weight status from pre-pregnancy to the time a child is 12 years of age and family structure.



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