Risk for obesity in adolescence starts in early childhood
Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the predictive value of body mass index (BMI) at earlier ages on risk of overweight/obesity at age of 11 years.
Study Design: This is a longitudinal study of 907 children from birth to age of 11 years. Predictors include BMI at earlier ages and outcome is overweight/obesity status at age of 11 years. Analyses were adjusted for covariates known to affect BMI.
Result: At 11 years, 17% were overweight and 25% were obese. Children whose BMI was measured as85th percentile once at preschool age had a twofold risk for overweight/obesity at 11 years of age. Risk increased by 11-fold if a child's BMI measured was noted more than once during this age. During early elementary years, if a child's BMI was>85th percentile once, risk for overweight/obesity at 11 years was fivefold and increased by 72-fold if noted more than two times. During late elementary years, if a child's BMI was>85th percentile once, risk for overweight/obesity was 26-fold and increased by 351-fold if noted more than two times. Risk of overweight/obesity at 11 years was noted with higher maternal prepregnancy weight, higher birth weight, female gender and increased television viewing.
Conclusion: Children in higher BMI categories at young ages have a higher risk of overweight/obesity at 11 years of age. Effect size was greater for measurements taken closer to 11 years of age. Pediatricians need to identify children at-risk for adolescent obesity and initiate counseling and intervention at earlier ages.