Aim: To find out whether there is an association between parity and obesity, evaluated through body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) in Chilean women after controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, health risk and gynaeco-obstetric factors.
Design: Cross-sectional study, using baseline data of the San Francisco Project.
Setting: San Francisco de Mostazal, located in the central region of Chile, 6512 Chilean-Hispanic women (Spanish heritage with a variable indigenous component).
Methods: A weighted random sample of 508 women who had their first pregnancy inside the primary child-bearing ages. Data were collected between 1997 and 1999. Statistical associations between parity and different anthropometric measurements of adiposity in multiple linear (MLnR) and logistic regression models (MLtR) were evaluated.
Results: In MLnR a modest parity-related increment in BMI and practically null increment in WC, WHR and WHtR was observed. Covariates that showed a statistically significant association with anthropometric measures of adiposity were age, low education, marital status, employment, smoking, smoking cessation, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, parent's obesity, menarche and fetal macrosomia. Crude odds ratio (OR) showed a strong association between parity and anthropometric markers of obesity. Nevertheless, after adjustments in MLtR models, the association remained only for BMI. All the measures of abdominal obesity-related to parous women showed OR smaller than 1 (95% confidence intervals 0.57 to 0.96).
Conclusions: Parity modestly influences BMI, but does not seem to be related to WC, WHR and WHtR after controlling by confounders. Parity can increase adiposity but not necessarily following an abdominal pattern.