January 08, 2020
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Excess weight at 3 years quadruples obesity risk in adolescence

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Excess weight at age 3 years is associated with higher risk for overweight or obesity at age 15 years, according to findings published in Pediatric Obesity.

“Because family members often share a common lifestyle, interventions for parents and children may be necessary to prevent obesity in adolescents,” Satomi Yoshida, PhD, of the department of pharmacoepidemiology at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine and Public Health in Japan, said in a press release.

In a population-based, retrospective study, Yoshida and colleagues analyzed early childhood and school-age health checkup data from 1,581 children in Japan, followed until age 15 years (50.2% girls; school health checkups at age 15 years were performed between June 2015 and June 2017). Maternal pregnancy information was collected via questionnaire. Researchers used generalized estimation equation analyses to investigate the association of overweight and obesity at age 15 years with low and high birth weight, overweight and obesity at age 3 years, and maternal overweight and obesity. Analyses were adjusted for gestational age of the child, birth order, mother’s age group at pregnancy, prenatal smoking status and working status. Cutoff points for all variables were defined by international criteria.

Among mother-child pairs, 130 (8.2%) children had low birth weight, 93 (5.9%) children had overweight or obesity at age 3 years and 167 (10.6%) had overweight or obesity at age 15 years.

Doctor and tape measure 2019 
Excess weight at age 3 years is associated with higher risk for overweight or obesity at age 15 years.
Source: Adobe Stock

Researchers found that overweight or obesity at age 3 years more than quadrupled the risk for overweight or obesity at age 15 years, with an adjusted OR of 4.26 (95% CI, 2.51-7.25). Maternal overweight or obesity more than doubled the risk for overweight or obesity among adolescents, with an aOR of 2.46 (95% CI, 1.41-4.3); however, results persisted only for girls in sex-stratified analyses.

“Lifestyle factors, including eating habits, are not fully developed in early childhood and can be modified,” the researchers wrote. “It may be necessary to intervene on overweight/obesity in early childhood, to prevent obesity in adolescence.” – by Regina Schaffer

Disclosure: One of the authors reports he has received research funds from Bayer Yakuhin, CMIC, Novartis, Sumitomo Dainippon, Suntory Beverage & Food and Stella Pharma, consultant fees or speaker honoraria from AbbVie, Astellas, Boehringer Ingelheim Japan, Daiichi Sankyo, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, Kaken Pharmaceutical, Mitsubishi Tanabe, Santen and Takeda, and is a stockholder of the School Health Record Centre and Real World Data.