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Cad Saude Publica. 2008 Apr;24(4):871-8.

Size at birth and height in early adolescence: a prospective birth cohort study.

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  • 1Programa de Pós-Graduação em Epidemiologia, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between size at birth (birthweight and birth length) and height in early adolescence in a prospective birth cohort study in Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Interviews were carried out in 1993, including measurements of birthweight and length, and in 2004-2005, including measurements of weight and height. This analysis includes 4,452 individuals, with a mean age of 11.3 years (standard deviation-SD=0.3), representing a follow-up rate of 87.5%. Mean height at 11 years was 145.8 cm (SD=7.9), or 144.9 cm (SD=7.7) in boys and 146.8 cm (SD=7.9) in girls. Birthweight and birth length were positively associated with height in early adolescence in the crude analysis, but after adjustment for confounding and for each other, only the effect of birth length was still significant. A one z-score increase in birth length was associated with a 1.63 cm increase in height at 11 years. The present study shows that birth length is a strong predictor of later height, while the effect of birth weight disappears after adjustment for birth length.

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