Date of Defense:
May 13, 2020
The amount of weight a woman gains in pregnancy can increase her risk for future obesity and related complications. Women who experience abuse in childhood are at increased risk for greater gestational weight gain in pregnancy and higher weight status after pregnancy. Accordingly, parity status could modify the association between childhood abuse and weight, with parous women who have experienced abuse being at greatest risk for overweight or obesity. The present study aimed to examine if adult body mass index (BMI) was modified by parity status among women that had experienced childhood physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Descriptive statistics and linear regression analyses were completed using data from the EAT-IV survey of Project EAT (N=855). Although parity status did not significantly moderate the association between childhood abuse and BMI (β=0.67, 95% CI: -1.01, 2.36), interesting qualitative patterns emerged. In particular, parous women with a history of childhood abuse had the highest BMI in adulthood (28.59 kg/m2, SD: 6.32). Parity status might moderate the association between childhood abuse and adult BMI, but additional research is needed to further examine this effect.