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J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008 Sep;48(3):326-34.

Tracking of adult adiposity in early, average and late maturing children: a thirty year longitudinal growth study.

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Thim van der Laan Faculty of Physiotherapy, Graub√ľnden, Landquart, Switzerland.



To investigate if predictability of adult adiposity is related to maturation status in youth.


Data of the longitudinal ''LEGS''-study (N = 550) from 6 to 18 years were used. At 35 years, 59 men and 60 women participated again. Early (EM), average (AM) and late (LM) maturity groups were established, using tertiles of age at peak height velocity (JPA-method). Pearson correlations between the childhood and the adult measurements were calculated.


Female sum of 4 skinfolds (Sigma4SF) correlations increase from very low/moderate (6-9 years) to high at 11 years (EM), 15 years (AM) and 17 years (LM). The highest predictability was 65.6% for the Sigma4SF at 14 years in EM. At this age, predictability is 30.3% in AM and 0.8% in LM (P < 0.05). In EM, BMI correlations are moderate/high until 14 yrs (r2 = 0.64 at 13 years), but low until 15 years in LM. Male Sigma4SF correlations are very low/moderate in the three maturity groups. Significant correlation was found in the LM at 16 yrs. Moderate Body Mass index (BMI) correlations are reached at 9 years (LM) and 11 years (EM). At 16 years predictability = 4.9% for BMI in LM males.


Predictability of adiposity at 35 years is generally better in girls than in boys. A dose-response effect of maturity on adult adiposity is found in girls but not in boys. Interventions to prevent adult obesity might be more effective in females than in males, particularly in EM females.

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