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Weight Gain in Infancy
How Fast Weight Gain in Infancy Causes Increased Risk of Adult Obesity
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Weight Gain in Infancy

The Relationship of Rapid Weight Gain in Infancy to Obesity and Skeletal Maturity in Childhood

Weight Gain Study - Aim
Children with birth weight appropriate for gestational age (AGA) who also demonstrate rapid weight gain in infancy have a greater risk of being overweight or obese during childhood. A concurrent advancement in skeletal maturity would account for their greater size and would, therefore, not necessarily pose a threat of greater risk during adolescence and early adulthood. This study aims to determine whether children with rapid weight gain during infancy have advanced skeletal maturity during childhood.

Weight Gain Study - Methods
One hundred and ninety-three African children (boys = 108; girls = 85) of normal birth weight and gestational age were assessed from birth to 9 years. Body composition was assessed at 9 years of age by whole-body DXA, and skeletal maturity was assessed using the Tanner-Whitehouse II technique. Rapid weight gain in infancy was defined as a +0.67 change in weight-for-age Z-score between birth and 2 years.

Weight Gain Study - Results
Rapid weight gain was experienced by over 20 percent of the sample. Children with rapid weight gain were significantly lighter at birth and significantly taller, heavier, and fatter throughout childhood. Chronological age and Tanner-Whitehouse II technique skeletal ages at 9 years were not significantly different between groups or between sexes within groups.

Weight Gain Study - Issues
Because AGA children with rapid weight gain have a greater risk of overweight and obesity but are not advanced in skeletal maturity, later adolescent adjustments toward average weight and fatness values are unlikely. The identification and monitoring of such children is of importance in reducing their risk of morbidity.

Source: Loughborough University, United Kingdom. 2003

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Weight Loss Methods
The science of weight loss and obesity management is constantly evolving, along with research into weight loss drugs, supplements and gastric bypass surgery. At present, however, a balanced diet combined with regular exercise remains the favored weight management strategy of most weight loss experts.

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