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Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jan;81(1):140-6.

Growth of children at high risk of obesity during the first 6 y of life: implications for prevention.

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  • 1Departments of Psychiatry and the Division of GI and Nutrition, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.



The contribution of familial factors to adiposity in children is poorly understood.


The objective was to assess differences in growth in the first 6 y of life in children born to either overweight or lean mothers.


The body size and composition of 33 children at high risk and 37 children at low risk of obesity on the basis of the mother's overweight [body mass index (BMI; in kg/m(2)) of 30.2 +/- 4.2 and 19.5 +/- 1.1, respectively] were measured repeatedly from 3 mo to 6 y of age at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.


At year 2, no significant differences in any measure were observed between the high- and low-risk groups. By year 4, weight, BMI, and lean body mass were greater in the high-risk than in the low-risk children. By year 6, weight was even greater in the high-risk than in the low-risk children (23.4 +/- 6.4 compared with 20.4 +/- 2.1 kg; P < 0.02), and, for the first time, fat mass was greater in the high-risk than in the low-risk children (6.7 +/- 5.7 compared with 3.8 +/- 1.2 kg; P < 0.02). Ten of 33 high-risk children exceeded the 85th percentile of BMI at year 6 compared with 1 of 37 low-risk children (odds ratio = 15.7). Accelerated weight gain was predicted by high-risk group status, greater weight at year 2, and lower family income.


Anthropometric measures were not significantly different between groups at year 2; weight and lean body mass were greater at years 4 and 6, and fat mass was greater at year 6 in high-risk children.

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