Background: Although there is longstanding evidence of the short-term benefits of promoting rapid growth for young children in low-income settings, more recent studies suggest that early weight gain can also increase the risk of chronic diseases in adults. This paper attempts to separate the effects of early life weight and length/height gains on blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), sum of skin folds and subscapular/triceps skin fold ratio at 14-15 years of age. Methods: The sample comprised 833 members of a prospective population-based birth cohort from Brazil. Conditional size (weight or height) analyses were used to express the difference between observed size at a given age and expected size based on a regression, including all previous measures of the same anthropometric index. A positive conditional weight or height indicates growing faster than expected given prior size. Results: Conditional weights at all age ranges were positively associated with most outcomes; each z-score of conditional weight at 4 years was associated with an increase of 6.1 mm in the sum of skin folds (95% CI 4.5 to 7.6) in adolescence after adjustment for conditional length/height. Associations of the outcomes with conditional length/height were mostly negative or nonsignificant-each z-score was associated with a reduction of 2.4 mm (95% CI - 3.8 to - 1.1) in the sum of skin folds after adjustment for conditional weight. No associations were found with the skin fold ratio. Conclusion: The promotion of rapid length/height gain without excessive weight gain seems to be beneficial for long-term outcomes, but this requires confirmation from other studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health