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Rapid weight gain in early childhood cause of sustained obesity later


Rapid weight gain in early childhood cause of sustained obesity later

According to a new study, rapid weight gain in early childhood leads to sustained obesity later.

A new study published in the journal NEJM has found that among obese adolescents, the most rapid weight gain had occurred between 2 and 6 years of age and majority of them who were obese at that age were obese in adolescence.

The body mass index (BMI) keeps on changing in children and it is not clear at which specific age susceptibility for the development of sustained obesity occurs.

Mandy Geserick and his associates did a prospective and retrospective analyzes of the course of BMI over time in a population-based sample of 51,505 children to assess the age at onset of obesity. The investigators also assessed the dynamics of annual BMI increments, defined as the change in BMI standard-deviation score per year, during childhood in 34,196 children.

Read ALso: Obesity increases asthma risk through changes in airway muscle


Key study findings:

  • Most of the adolescents with normal weight had always had a normal weight throughout childhood.
  • Approximately half (53%) of the obese adolescents had been overweight or obese from 5 years of age onward, and the BMI standard-deviation score further increased with age.
  • In prospective analyses, the researchers found that almost 90% of the children who were obese at 3 years of age were overweight or obese in adolescence.
  • Among the adolescents who were obese, the greatest acceleration in annual BMI increments had occurred between 2 and 6 years of age, with a further rise in BMI percentile thereafter.
  • High acceleration in annual BMI increments during the preschool years (but not during the school years) was associated with a risk of overweight or obesity in adolescence that was 1.4 times as high as the risk among children who had had stable BMI.
  • The rate of overweight or obesity in adolescence was higher among children who had been large for gestational age at birth (43.7%) than among those who had been at an appropriate weight for gestational age (28.4%) or small for gestational age (27.2%), which corresponded to a risk of adolescent obesity that was 1.55 times as high among those who had been large for gestational age as among the other groups.

Read Also: Intensive Behavioral interventions must for Obesity Management: USPSTF


As per WHO, worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.  41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016. Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.

For reference log on to https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1803527

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Vinay Singh

Vinay Singh

Vinay Singh joined Medical Dialogue as Desk Editor in 2018. He covers the medical speciality news in different medical categories including Medical guidelines, updates from Medical Journals and Case Reports. He completed his graduation in Biotechnology from AAIDU and did his MBA from IILM Gurgaon. He can be contacted at editorial@medicaldialogues.in . Contact no. 011-43720751
Source: With inputs from NEJM

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