Rapid weight gain during early childhood is associated with overweight in preadolescence: a longitudinal study in Japan

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The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between rapid weight gain during early childhood and overweight in preadolescence by sex.


Study subjects were 676 boys and 620 girls in fourth grade (aged 9 or 10 years) from elementary schools in Ina-town, Japan, during 2010–2012. Height and weight of subjects at birth, age 1.5 and 3 years, were collected from the Maternal and Child Health Handbook, while values at 9–10 years were measured. Rapid weight gain was defined as a change in weight-for-age standard deviation score greater than 0.67 from birth to age 1.5 years (0–1.5 years) or from age 1.5 to 3 years (1.5–3 years).


After adjustment for confounding factors, compared with no rapid weight gain, rapid weight gain during 0–1.5 years and 1.5–3 years or rapid weight gain during 1.5–3 years but not during 0–1.5 years significantly increased the odds ratio (OR) for overweight at age 9–10 years in boys (OR, 6.21; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.84–13.58 and OR, 3.31; 95% CI, 1.67–6.54, respectively) and girls (OR, 7.55; 95% CI, 2.99–19.07 and OR, 3.42; 95% CI, 1.38–8.49, respectively).


The present study suggests that rapid weight gain during early childhood was associated with being overweight in preadolescence, regardless of sex.

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