To assess whether different trajectories of weight gain since birth influence bone mineral content (BMC) and areal bone mineral density (aBMD) at 7 years of age.Study design
We studied a subsample of 1889 children from the Generation XXI birth cohort who underwent whole-body dual-energy radiograph absorptiometry. Weight trajectories identified through normal mixture modeling for model-based clustering and labeled “normal weight gain,” “weight gain during infancy,” “weight gain during childhood,” and “persistent weight gain” were used. Differences in subtotal BMC, aBMD, and size-corrected BMC (scBMC) at age 7 years according to weight trajectories were estimated through analysis of covariance.Results
Compared with the “normal weight gain” trajectory, children in the remaining trajectories had significantly greater BMC, aBMD, and scBMC at age 7 years, with the strongest associations for “persistent weight gain” (girls [BMC: 674.0 vs 559.8 g, aBMD: 0.677 vs 0.588 g/cm2, scBMC: 640.7 vs 577.4 g], boys [BMC: 689.4 vs 580.8 g, aBMD: 0.682 vs 0.611 g/cm2, scBMC: 633.0 vs 595.6 g]). After adjustment for current weight, and alternatively for fat and lean mass, children with a “weight gain during childhood” trajectory had greater BMC and aBMD than those with a “normal weight gain” trajectory, although significant differences were restricted to girls (BMC: 601.4 vs 589.2 g, aBMD: 0.618 vs 0.609 g/cm2).Conclusion
Overall, children following a trajectory of persistent weight gain since birth had clearly increased bone mass at 7 years, but weight gain seemed slightly more beneficial when it occurred later rather than on a normal trajectory during the first 7 years of life.