Longitudinal changes in infant body composition: association with childhood obesity



Rapid weight gain in infancy has been established as a risk factor for the development of later obesity.


We aimed to investigate the role of changes in infant body composition (assessed via total body electrical conductivity) on the development of overweight/obesity in mid-childhood.


Fifty-three term infants were evaluated at birth, three times during infancy and in mid-childhood. Logistic regression was used to determine associations between rates of total weight gain, fat mass gain and lean mass gain during infancy and later overweight/obesity (defined as body mass index [BMI] ≥85th percentile), adjusted for birth weight and parent education.


At follow-up (age 9.0 ± 1.8 years), 30% were overweight/obese. More rapid total weight gain from 0 to 4 months was associated with twofold odds (odds ratio [OR] 1.98, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05–3.74, P = 0.04) of overweight/obesity in mid-childhood. From 0 to 8 months, more rapid weight gain was associated with nearly fivefold odds (OR 4.76, 95% CI 1.05–21.5, P = 0.04), and more rapid fat mass gain was associated with eightfold odds (OR 8.03, 95% CI 1.11–58.2, P = 0.04) of later overweight/obesity.


This exploratory study suggests that rapid weight gain, especially fat mass gain, in earlier infancy predisposes to mid-childhood overweight/obesity.


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