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Epidemiology. 2003 Jan;14(1):65-73.

Growth in early life and its relation to pubertal growth.

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Clinical Trials Centre and Department of Pediatrics, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, The P R China.



The timing and magnitude of pubertal growth in relation to fetal, infancy and childhood growth have not been explored.


We used data from a longitudinal growth study of 3650 full-term healthy children who were born in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1973-1975. This analysis included 2738 children with height and weight measurements available both in early life and during adolescence.


We found that faster linear growth during infancy and childhood was associated with earlier peak height velocity during adolescence. In contrast, greater height and body mass index (BMI) at birth were associated with later peak height velocity in adolescence. Children with faster linear growth and greater BMI in infancy and childhood had less height gain between ages 8 and 18. However, greater height and BMI at birth were associated with more height gain between ages 8 and 18 after adjusting for height and BMI in childhood.


Both length and BMI (at birth, in infancy and during childhood) are associated with the timing and magnitude of pubertal growth. Being small at birth is associated with early puberty and a reduced height gain during adolescence.

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