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Cohort profile: Pacific Islands Families (PIF) growth study, Auckland, New Zealand.

ABSTRACT

This article profiles a birth cohort of Pacific children participating in an observational prospective study and describes the study protocol used at ages 14-15 years to investigate how food and activity patterns, metabolic risk and family and built environment are related to rates of physical growth of Pacific children.From 2000 to 2015, the Pacific Islands Families Study has followed, from birth, the growth and development of over 1000 Pacific children born in Auckland, New Zealand. In 2014, 931 (66%) of the original cohort had field measures of body composition, blood pressure and glycated haemoglobin. A nested subsample (n=204) was drawn by randomly selecting 10 males and 10 females from each decile of body weight. These participants had measurement of body composition by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, food frequency, 6 min walk test and accelerometer-determined physical activity and sedentary behaviours, and blood biomarkers for metabolic disease such as diabetes. Built environment variables were generated from individual addresses.Compared to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reference population with mean SD scores (SDS) of 0, this cohort of 931 14-year-olds was taller, weighed more and had a higher body mass index (BMI) (mean SDS height >0.6, weight >1.6 and BMI >1.4). 7 of 10 youth were overweight or obese. The nested-sampling frame achieved an even distribution by body weight.Cross-sectional relationships between body size, fatness and growth rate, food patterns, activity patterns, pubertal development, risks for diabetes and hypertension and the family and wider environment will be examined. In addition, analyses will investigate relationships with data collected earlier in the life course and measures of the cohort in the future. Understanding past and present influences on child growth and health will inform timely interventions to optimise future health and reduce inequalities for Pacific people.