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Physiological stress measures in preschool children and their relationship with body composition and behavioral problems


Messerli-Bürgy, Nadine; Arhab, Amar; Stülb, Kerstin; Kakebeeke, Tanja H; Zysset, Annina E; Leeger-Aschmann, Claudia S; Schmutz, Einat A; Ehlert, Ulrike; Kriemler, Susi; Jenni, Oskar G; Munsch, Simone; Puder, Jardena J (2018). Physiological stress measures in preschool children and their relationship with body composition and behavioral problems. Developmental Psychobiology, 60(8):1009-1022.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The relationship between physiological stress measures and body composition or behavioral problems in older children remains controversial, and data in young children are lacking. The aim of the study was to investigate this relationship in predominantly healthy preschool children.

METHOD: Physiological stress measures were assessed using diurnal salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) and salivary cortisol, nail cortisol and parasympathetic activation (PNS) by overnight heart rate variability, and body composition (body mass index, skinfold thickness) and behavior problems (using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire) in 324 children aged 2-6 years of the SPLASHY study.

RESULTS: Parasympathetic nervous system was inversely related to body fat, to emotional, and to peer problems. Diurnal sAA was related to hyperactivity problems and moderated the relationship of cortisol and hyperactivity problems. Cortisol was not related to any other health problems.

DISCUSSION: The relationship of PNS with body composition and behavioral problems might highlight the protective role of the parasympathetic system early in life.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The relationship between physiological stress measures and body composition or behavioral problems in older children remains controversial, and data in young children are lacking. The aim of the study was to investigate this relationship in predominantly healthy preschool children.

METHOD: Physiological stress measures were assessed using diurnal salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) and salivary cortisol, nail cortisol and parasympathetic activation (PNS) by overnight heart rate variability, and body composition (body mass index, skinfold thickness) and behavior problems (using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire) in 324 children aged 2-6 years of the SPLASHY study.

RESULTS: Parasympathetic nervous system was inversely related to body fat, to emotional, and to peer problems. Diurnal sAA was related to hyperactivity problems and moderated the relationship of cortisol and hyperactivity problems. Cortisol was not related to any other health problems.

DISCUSSION: The relationship of PNS with body composition and behavioral problems might highlight the protective role of the parasympathetic system early in life.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 December 2018
Deposited On:04 Oct 2018 08:10
Last Modified:21 Dec 2018 02:03
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0012-1630
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.21782
PubMed ID:30270564
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderJacobs Foundation
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title

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