The association between childhood body weight and adult health has been little-examined, and findings are inconsistent.
In a representative sample of the Scottish nation (the Scottish Mental Survey of 1947), we examined the association between body mass index measured at 11 years of age and future cause-specific mortality by age 77 years. In this cohort study, a maximum of 67 years of follow-up of 3839 study members gave rise to 1568 deaths (758 from cardiovascular disease, 610 from any malignancy). After adjustment for covariates, there was some evidence of a relation between elevated childhood body mass index and rates of mortality ascribed to all-causes (hazard ratio per 1 SD increase in body mass index; 95% confidence interval: 1.09; 1.03, 1.14), cardiovascular disease (1.09; 1.01, 1.17), all cancers combined (1.12; 1.03, 1.21), smoking-related cancers (1.13; 1.03, 1.25), and breast cancer in women (1.27; 1.04, 1.56).
In conclusion, we provide further observational evidence for the need for weight control measures in youth.