Some studies suggest that weight gain in childhood may increase the risk of chronic diseases in adulthood, and recent studies have noticed that the timing of weight gain may be related to its long-term consequence. However, weight gain in childhood has clear short-term benefits, and the literature on the pro and cons of weight gain in childhood is limited.Methods
In 1982, all 5914 hospital births (over 99% of all deliveries) occurring in Pelotas, Southern Brazil, were identified and studied prospectively on several occasions. In 2004–05, we attempted to trace the whole cohort and information on offspring birthweight was collected. Conditional growth modelling was used to assess the association between offspring birthweight and weight gain from birth to 20 months, and from 20 to 42 months.Results
In 2004–05, we interviewed 4297 subjects, with a follow-up rate of 77.4%. This manuscript includes data from 848 women who had already delivered a child and 525 men who were fathers at the mean age of 23 years. Maternal birthweight, weight and length for age Z-score at 20 months of age were positively associated with next-generation birthweight, whereas paternal variables were not related to the outcome. Conditional growth modelling analyses showed that women whose weight gain in the first 20 months of life was faster than predicted had heavier babies, whereas paternal weight gain was not associated. The association was strongest for mothers whose birthweight for gestational age was in the lowest tertile.Conclusion
Maternal, but not paternal birthweight and weight gain in early childhood are positively associated with next-generation birthweight.