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Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Jul;70(1):145S-148S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/70.1.145s.

Tracking of body mass index in children in relation to overweight in adulthood.

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Division of Human Biology, Departments of Community Health and Pediatrics, Wright State University School of Medicine, Yellow Springs, OH.


Body mass index (BMI; in kg/m2) values at or above the 75th percentile are associated with increased morbidity and mortality in adulthood, and there are significant correlations between BMI values in childhood and in adulthood. The present study addresses the predictive value of childhood BMI for overweight at 35 +/- 5 y, defined as BMI >28 for men and BMI >26 for women. Analyses of data from 555 white children showed that overweight at age 35 y could be predicted from BMI at younger ages. The prediction is excellent at age 18 y, good at age 13 y, but only moderate at ages <13 y. For 18-y-olds with BMIs above the 60th percentile, the probability of overweight at age 35 y is 34% for men and 37% for women. A clinically applicable method is provided to assign an overweight child to a group with a known probability of high BMI values in adulthood.


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