Identification of Children’s BMI Trajectories and Prediction from Weight Gain in Infancy
The causes of childhood obesity are not always clear; however, the risk that it poses to adult health outcomes, such as cardiovascular health and premature death, mean that an understanding of common patterns and predictors in infancy are essential. This paper published in Obesity, used data on birthweight and BMI from 1,364 children of ages 24 months to 13 years, to see which patterns are associated with higher risk of becoming overweight or obese.
They found that risk of membership of a high-BMI trajectory could be predicted from as early as 15 months old. Birth weight for gestational age and percent weight increase in the first 15 months are the strongest predictors for following a high-rising trajectory of weight change across childhood. Therefore, high-birth weight should trigger parents and physicians to ensure healthy nutrition. More importantly than that, rapid weight gain in the first 15 months was found to be strongly correlated to high-BMI in later life, meaning that close monitoring of weight-gain in early life, along with intervention, could be a new way of preventing childhood obesity.