Infancy weight gain predicts childhood body fat and age at menarche in girls

KK Ong, P Emmett, K Northstone, J Golding, I Rogers, A Ness, JC Wells, DB Dunger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

206 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid postnatal weight gain has been associated with subsequent increased childhood adiposity. However, the contribution of rapid weight gain during specific infancy periods is not clear. Objective: We aimed to determine which periods of infancy weight gain are related to childhood adiposity and also to age at menarche in UK girls. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A total of 2715 girls from a prospective UK birth cohort study participated in the study. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Routinely measured weights and lengths at ages 2, 9, and 19 months were extracted from the local child health computer database. Body composition was assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry at age 10 yr, and age at menarche was assessed by questionnaire (categorized into three groups: 13.0 yr). RESULTS: Faster early infancy weight gain between 0 and 2 months and also 2 to 9 months were associated with increased body fat mass relative to lean mass at age 10 yr and also with earlier age at menarche. Each +1 unit gain in weight sd score between 0 and 9 months was associated with an odds ratio (95% confidence interval) = 1.48 (1.27-1.60) for overweight (body mass index > 85th centile) at 10 yr, and 1.34 (1.21-1.49) for menarche at less than 12 yr. In contrast, subsequent weight gain between 9 and 19 months was not associated with later adiposity or age at menarche. CONCLUSIONS: In developed settings, rapid weight gain during the first 9 months of life is a risk factor for both increased childhood adiposity and early menarche in girls.
Translated title of the contributionInfancy weight gain predicts childhood body fat and age at menarche in girls
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1527 - 1532
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Publication statusPublished - May 2009

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Endocrine Society


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