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.
Shankaran, S., Bann, C., Das, A., Lester, B., Bada, H., Bauer, CR., ... Higgins, RD. (2011). Risk for obesity in adolescence starts in early childhood. Journal of Perinatology, 31(11), 711-716. DOI: 10.1038/jp.2011.14