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Early Weight, Linear Growth Rate Affect Obesity Risk in Kids

THURSDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- In low- and middle-income countries, fast linear growth in the first two years of life is associated with increased adult height and completion of more schooling, while higher weight at birth and later in childhood is associated with increased risk of obesity, according to a study published online March 28 in The Lancet.

Linda S. Adair, PhD, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues used data from 8,362 participants of five prospective birth cohort studies from Brazil, Guatemala, India, the Philippines, and South Africa. Body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, plasma glucose concentration, height, and years of attained schooling were assessed.

The researchers found that higher birth weight was consistently associated with an adult body mass index of greater than 25 kg/m² (odds ratio [OR], 1.28) and a reduced likelihood of short adult stature (OR, 0.49) and of not completing secondary school (OR, 0.82). There was a strong association between faster linear growth and a reduced risk of short adult stature (growth spurt occurring from birth to age 2 years OR, =0.23; growth spurt occurring during mid-childhood OR, 0.39), and of not completing secondary school (age 2 years OR, 0.74; mid-childhood OR, 0.87). Faster linear growth was also associated with an increased likelihood of being overweight (age 2 years OR, 1.24; mid-childhood OR, 1.12) and elevated blood pressure (age 2 years OR, 1.12; mid-childhood OR, 1.07). There was similarly an association with an increased risk of being overweight as an adult (age 2 years OR, 1.51; mid-childhood OR, 1.76) and elevated blood pressure (age 2 years OR, 1.07; mid-childhood OR, 1.22). There was no association between linear growth and relative weight gain with dysglycaemia, although a higher birth weight was associated with decreased risk of the disorder (OR, 0.89).

"Interventions in countries of low and middle income to increase birth weight and linear growth during the first two years of life are likely to result in substantial gains in height and schooling and give some protection from adult chronic disease risk factors, with few adverse trade-offs," the authors write.

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Further Reading
New guidelines recommend lifestyle modifications together with medications for children and adolescents diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus; these clinical practice guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics have been published online Jan. 28 in Pediatrics.
For preschool children, consumption of 1 percent/skim milk is associated with overweight/obesity, according to a study published online March 18 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
For youth with type 1 diabetes, the transition from pediatric to adult diabetes care is associated with increased risk of poor glycemic control, according to a study published online March 25 in Pediatrics.
The likelihood of diabetes in young adulthood is increased for those who are obese as adolescents and those with persistent obesity, compared to those with adult-onset obesity, according to a study published in the April issue of Diabetes Care.
Gestational age is inversely associated with insulin levels at birth, according to a study published in the Feb. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Displaying the amount of exercise needed to burn off the calories of menu items may lead to lower-calorie food choices in young people.
Online social interests can predict the prevalence of obesity in a given geographical area.
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