Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Weight gain during infancy is directly linked to increased risks of obesity and
other weight related conditions later in life, according to a university study.
Moreover, the research, which followed 395 non-diabetic children born at two
maternity hospitals in the city from birth through to the age of eight, also
identified that breast feeding would help prevent a stack of health problems in
Link with age
“Excessive weight gain over this period may have consequences for later body
size, however, its relationship to arterial wall thickening and risk factors in
later childhood had not been well documented, until now,” said Dr Michael
Skilton, the lead author of the paper.
Our study found early postnatal weight gain from birth to 18 months is
significantly associated with later childhood overweight and obesity, as well as
a poorer risk factor profile and greater arterial wall thickness.
“Excessive weight gain during infancy was strongly associated with increased
waist circumference and higher blood pressure at eight years of age, compared to
those with normal weight gain in early life.”
Two other findings surprised the team: that breastfeeding for at least six
months and a longer gestation period were associated with lesser weight gain in
“Our study found independent predictors of greater early weight gain included
shorter gestation and a failure to breastfeed until six months of age,”
“It showed the effect of early weight gain was amplified by later childhood,
with weight at eight years being 2.1 to 3.3 kg higher for every 1 kg of weight
gain during infancy.”
Future studies could assess whether reducing excessive early life weight gain
might be associated with improved cardiovascular risk profiles, in later life.
“We have identified, for example, that breastfeeding is a potentially modifiable
factor associated with significantly less early life weight gain,” added Skilton.
Weight Gain in Infancy and Vascular Risk Factors in Later Childhood.Michael R.
Skilton, Guy B. Marks, Julian G. Ayer,Frances L. Garden, Sarah P. Garnett, Jason
A. Harmer, Stephen R. Leeder, Brett G. Toelle, Karen Webb,Louise A. Baur, and
David S. Celermajer. Pediatrics 2013; 131:6 e1821-e1828; published ahead of
print May 27, 2013