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Int J Obes (Lond). 2016 Jan;40(1):58-64. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2015.196. Epub 2015 Sep 23.

Overweight patterns throughout childhood and cardiometabolic markers in early adolescence.

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Center for Nutrition, Prevention and Health Services, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.
Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
University of Groningen, Department of Pediatric Pulmonology and Pediatric Allergology, Beatrix Children's Hospital, UMCG, GRIAC Research Institute, Groningen, The Netherlands.
University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Department of Pulmonology, GRIAC Research Institute, Groningen, The Netherlands.
Department of Pediatrics, Erasmus University Medical Center, Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



Risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease is higher in adults who were relatively thin at birth and had subsequent accelerated weight gain. This specific pattern of weight gain may relate to unfavorable cardiometabolic markers already in childhood. We prospectively assessed whether children with different patterns of overweight development from age 3 months to 11 years had distinct levels of cardiometabolic markers at age 12 years.


We used data of 1500 children participating in the PIAMA birth cohort that started in 1996/1997. Parents reported height and weight during 10 waves of follow-up from age 3 months to 11 years. Four distinct overweight development patterns were derived using longitudinal latent class analysis; 'never'; 'early transient'; 'gradually developing' and 'persistent' overweight. Cardiometabolic markers (total-to-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (TC/HDLC) ratio, blood pressure (BP), glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c)) were assessed at age 12 years in 1500 children.


Children who developed overweight gradually and children with persistent overweight throughout childhood, at age 12 years had a 2-3-fold higher risk of having high (>90th centile) TC/HDLC ratio, systolic and diastolic BP, compared with children who were never overweight. In children who gradually developed overweight, TC/HDLC ratio was 0.75 higher (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.54-0.96); systolic BP 4.90 mmHg higher (95% CI 2.45-7.36) and diastolic BP 1.78 mmHg higher (95% CI 0.07-3.49) than in children who never had overweight. Estimates for children with persistent overweight were similar.


Children with gradually developing overweight, and those with persistent overweight had unfavorable cholesterol and blood pressure levels already at age 12 years, whereas children with early transient overweight avoided these unfavorable outcomes. Our results support the hypothesis that specific overweight patterns predispose to an adverse cardiometabolic profile, which is already apparent in early adolescence before progressing to adult cardiometabolic disease.

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