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Rapid Weight Gain Infancy and Obesity
Infant Weight Increase Leads to Child and Adult Obesity
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Rapid Weight Gain Infancy & Obesity

Weight Gain Study Background
Obesity is increasing in the United States. Evidence-based prevention is a public health priority and should target well-defined risk factors and critical periods.

Weight Gain Study Aim
The hypothesis that rapid weight gain during early infancy is associated with obesity in African American young adults, a group at increased risk of obesity was tested.

Weight Gain Study Methods
A cohort of 300 African Americans born at full term was followed from birth to 20 years of age. A pattern of rapid weight gain was defined as an increase in weight-for-age = 1 SD between birth and 4 months.

Weight Gain Study Results
About 29 percent of subjects had a pattern of rapid weight gain during infancy; 8 percent were obese at age 20 years. One-third of the obesity at age 20 years could be attributed to rapid weight gain in the first 4 months of life. After adjustment for confounding factors, subjects with rapid weight gain during early infancy were more likely to become obese at age 20 years. The results were confirmed by using a combination of body mass index and skinfold thickness.

Weight Gain Study Conclusion
The results of the present study provide evidence that a pattern of rapid weight gain during early infancy is associated with obesity not only in childhood but also in young adulthood. We propose that early infancy constitutes a critical period for the development of obesity. Mechanisms of action and prevention strategies require further investigation.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2003
Nicolas Stettler, Shiriki K Kumanyika, Solomon H Katz, Babette S Zemel and Virginia A Stallings.

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