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Braz J Med Biol Res. 2007 Sep;40(9):1237-43.

Do intrauterine growth restriction and overweight at primary school age increase the risk of elevated body mass index in young adults?

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Departamento de Puericultura e Pediatria, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brasil.


Obesity is one of the rising public health problems characterized as a risk factor for many chronic diseases in adulthood. Early life events such as intrauterine growth restriction, as well as life style, are associated with an increased prevalence of this disease. The present study was performed to determine if intrauterine growth restriction interacts with overweight at primary school age to affect body mass index (BMI) in young adults. From June 1, 1978 to May 31, 1979, 6827 singleton liveborns from Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo State, Brazil, corresponding to 98% of all births at the 8 maternity hospitals, were examined and their mothers were interviewed. Samples from the initial cohort were examined again at primary school age (8 to 11 years of age) and at the time of military service (18 years of age). There were 519 male individuals with complete measurements taken in the three surveys. Intrauterine growth-restricted individuals had a BMI 0.68 kg/m(2) lower than that of individuals who were not restricted (95%CI = -1.34 to -0.03) and overweight at primary school age showed a positive and strong effect on BMI at 18 years of age (coefficient 5.03, 95%CI = 4.27 to 5.79). However, the increase in BMI was much higher--6.90 kg/m(2)--when the conscript had been born with intrauterine growth restriction and presented overweight at primary school age (95%CI = 4.55 to 9.26). These findings indicate that the effect of intrauterine growth restriction on BMI at 18 years of age is modified by later weight gain during school age.

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