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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Longitudinal associations between body composition and regional fat distribution and later attained height at school entry among preschool children predisposed to overweight

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BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: To investigate the associations between indicators of obesity and fat distribution, such as body mass index (BMI), fat mass, and skinfold measures during preschool age, and attained height at school entry.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: The Healthy Start primary intervention study comprised 1100 obesity-prone preschool children from the greater Copenhagen area, with a mean [standard deviation (SD)] age of 4.0 (1.1) years at baseline. Anthropometry was measured by trained health professionals at baseline (preschool age) and follow-up height at school entry was gathered by school nurses. Prospective associations between body fat measures and later attained height were examined using generalized linear models with adjustments for potential confounders.

RESULTS: Greater adiposity at preschool age was directly associated with a higher attained height at follow-up at school-age, when adjusting for confounders. A baseline difference of one BMI unit was associated with a greater attained height of 0.8 cm [(95% confidence interval (CI) 0.5; 1.2]. Furthermore, a difference of 1 mm in the sum of four skinfolds measured at baseline was associated with a greater attained height of 0.1 cm (95% CI 0.03; 0.2) at follow-up. Children with overweight or obesity at baseline attained a significantly higher height of 2.9 (95% CI 1.6; 4.1) cm at follow-up after full adjustment than normal weight children.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results supports that greater adiposity at preschool age is associated with greater tallness. Although a greater height is assumed to be desirable, accelerated growth in childhood may in itself be a risk factor for obesity later in life.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)465-471
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

ID: 61193646