Impacts of infancy rapid weight gain on 5-year childhood overweight development vary by age and sex in China

J. Min, J. Li, Z. Li, Y. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objectives: To investigate the critical period for overweight development during early childhood by examining growth trajectory and related sex differences. Methods: Using piecewise linear mixed models and logistic regression, we examined the effect of growth trajectory at different periods on overweight at age 4-5 by sex among 136 971 regularly followed children (mean: 12.2 times) during 2000-2005 in south China. Results: The high-body mass index (BMI) group (>top tertile of BMI Z score at age of 4-5 years) had faster growth rates of BMI, BMI Z score, weight and height than the low-BMI group in the first 3 months of life. Boys were more likely to be overweight [odds ratio (OR) = 2.0, 95% confidence interval: 1.5-2.7] than girls; the male high-BMI group had higher growth rates during the first 3 months than girls with high-BMI, independently of environmental factors. Those fast grown (in the upper tertile of growth rates in BMI and BMI Z score) in periods 0-3 months had relatively higher OR of at risk of overweight at age of 4-5 years than those in other periods. Conclusions: Overweight risk develops during the first 3 months of life. Boys have an earlier peak in growth than girls, which may help explain why overweight is more prevalent in boys in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-373
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Obesity
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Child
  • China
  • Obesity
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Health Policy
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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