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Excess Weight Gain in Small Children Raises Metabolic Risk Factors by Age Four
Posted: Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Very young children who gain more weight, relative to their height, than their peers have more metabolic risk factors at 4 years of age, according to study findings.
Lead author Dr. Camila Corvalan, from the University of Chile in Santiago stated that, "This is important because high levels of metabolic risk factors at 4 years of age may indicate a higher predisposition to the emergence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, insulin resistance, lipids disorders, etc....
Dr. Corvalan and her colleagues examined growth from age 0 to 4 years and cardiovascular disease status at 4 years in 323 Chilean children who were born at full term weighing at least 2500 g.
The prevalence of obesity increased from 4% at birth to 13% at 4 years, according to their report. Changes in body mass index (BMI), especially from 6 to 24 months, were predictive of a higher metabolic score. However, these changes were unrelated to insulin resistance and total cholesterol (TC):HDL cholesterol. Changes in height were not associated with cardiovascular disease risks at age 4 years.
There was no association between mode of infant feeding and cardiovascular disease outcomes at 4 years. However, in children who were exclusively breastfed at 4 months, an increase in BMI from 0 to 6 months was positively associated with LDL cholesterol and TC:HDL cholesterol at 4 years, and negatively associated with HDL cholesterol at 4 years.
In children who were partially or non-breastfed at 4 months, increasing body mass index from 0 to 6 months was negatively related to LDL cholesterol and TC:HDL cholesterol at 4 years and positively related to HDL cholesterol at 4 years.
"These results indicate that we should act as early as 6 months of age in order to ensure that children grow in a healthy way," commented Dr. Corvalan. "Achieving healthy growth in early life (i.e. avoiding excessive weight gain) can be a powerful strategy to prevent the emergence of chronic diseases (and health inequalities) later on," she said.
Source: Diabetes In Control: Am J Clin Nutr Sept. 2009;90:547-555.
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