A rapid growth rate in early childhood is a risk factor for becoming overweight in late adolescence.

Research paper by Annelie A Thorén, Bo B Werner, Cecilia C Lundholm, Lennart L Bråbäck, Sven-Arne SA Silfverdal

Indexed on: 15 Jul '15Published on: 15 Jul '15Published in: Acta Paediatrica


We evaluated whether body mass index (BMI) and rapid growth in early life were associated with an increased risk of becoming overweight at 16 and 18 years of age.The study population comprised all children born in Sweden on the 15th of each month in 1981. Individuals born on the 5th, 10th and 20th of every month were added for counties with low population densities. Information on weight and height was collected from birth up to 18 years of age for 98.6% of the 3537 children identified.Weight at 12 months of age was associated with being overweight at both 16 and 18 years of age. Rapid weight gain from birth to 12 months was associated with higher odds for being overweight later in life, and the weight gain between 18 months and four years of age was the strongest risk factor for being overweight in late adolescence in both sexes. There was no association between a birthweight of <2500 g or >4500 g and being overweight at 16 or 18 years of age.Fast growth during early childhood was associated with an increased risk of being overweight later in life, emphasising the importance of early prevention.