Weight gain in early years and subsequent body mass index trajectories across birthweight groups: a prospective longitudinal study

Lu, Y., Pearce, A. and Li, L. (2020) Weight gain in early years and subsequent body mass index trajectories across birthweight groups: a prospective longitudinal study. European Journal of Public Health, 30(2), pp. 316-322. (doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckz232) (PMID:31899482) (PMCID:PMC7183364)

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Background: Rapid weight gain (RWG) in early-life is associated with increased risk of childhood obesity and is common among low-birth weight infants. Few studies have compared body mass index (BMI) trajectories of children experienced RWG to those who did not, across birth weight groups. We investigated the association between RWG in early-life and subsequent BMI trajectory and whether the association differs by birth weight. Methods: We included term singletons from the UK Millennium Cohort Study (n = 10 637). RWG was defined as an increase in weight z-scores (derived using UK–WHO growth reference) between birth and 3 years >0.67. Mixed-effect fractional polynomial models were applied to examine the association between RWG and BMI trajectories (5–14 years). Models were further adjusted for confounders and stratified by birth weight-for-gestational-age group. Results: Mean BMI trajectories were higher in children who experienced RWG in early-life, compared with their non-RWG counterparts. RWG was associated with higher BMI at five years [by 0.76 kg/m2 (95% CI: 0.67–0.85) in boys and 0.87 kg/m2 (0.76–0.97) in girls]; the difference persisted into adolescence [1.37 kg/m2 (1.17–1.58) and 1.75 kg/m2 (1.52–1.99) at 14 years, respectively]. Differences remained after adjustment and were particularly greater for children born large-for-gestational-age than those born small- and appropriate-for-gestational-age. Mean BMI trajectories for large-for-gestational-age children with RWG exceeded international reference curves for overweight (for obesity at some ages in girls). Conclusions: RWG was associated with higher BMI trajectories throughout childhood and adolescence, especially in large-for-gestational-age children. Strategies for obesity prevention need to address factors during and before infancy and preventing excessive weight gain among infants who have already had adequate growth in utero.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding: This work was funded by a Medical Research Council Doctoral Training Grant [MR/K501268/1] to Y.L. and supported by the NIHR Great Ormond Street Hospital Biomedical Research Centre. A.P. was supported by funds from the Wellcome Trust [205412/Z/16/Z], the Medical Research Council [MC_UU_12017/13] and the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office [SPHSU13].
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Pearce, Dr Anna
Authors: Lu, Y., Pearce, A., and Li, L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:European Journal of Public Health
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1464-360X
Published Online:02 January 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in European Journal of Public Health 30(2): 316=322
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
174091Improving life chances & reducing child health inequalities: harnessing the untapped potential of existing dataAnna PearceWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)205412/Z/16/ZHW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit