Public Health Nutrition

Biological and behavioural determinants

Childhood underweight, weight gain during childhood to adolescence/young adulthood and incidence of adult metabolic syndrome in the SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra) Project

Adriano M Pimentaa1, Juan-José Beunzaa2, Almudena Sanchez-Villegasa3, Maira Bes-Rastrolloa2 and Miguel A Martinez-Gonzaleza2 c1

a1 Department of Maternal and Child Nursing and Public Health, Nursing School, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

a2 Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Medical School & Clinic, University of Navarra, Irunlarrea 1, CP 31080, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain

a3 Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

Abstract

Objective To assess associations between childhood body weight, weight gain during childhood to adolescence/young adulthood and incidence of adult metabolic syndrome (MetS).

Design A dynamic prospective cohort study (the SUN Project; Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra). Participants were asked to select which of nine body images most closely represented their body shape at ages 5 and 20 years, and it was used as a proxy of BMI. An incident case of MetS was diagnosed according to criteria of the International Diabetes Federation. Associations between childhood body weight, weight gain during childhood to adolescence/young adulthood and incidence of adult MetS were estimated by multiple-adjusted odds ratios and their 95 % confidence intervals.

Setting University of Navarra, Spain.

Subjects The study included 5317 university graduates, followed-up for a median of 6·1 years.

Results The incidence of MetS was 2·9 % (1·7 % in women and 5·1 % in men). Among men, body shape at age 5 years was inversely related to adult MetS (OR = 0·83, 95 % CI 0·72, 0·97), whereas weight gain during childhood to adolescence/young adulthood was directly associated with adult MetS (OR = 1·49, 95 % CI 1·01, 2·18); both childhood underweight (OR = 5·20, 95 % CI 1·87, 14·50) and childhood obesity (OR = 4·66, 95 % CI 1·40, 15·51) increased the likelihood of adult MetS. No association was apparent among women.

Conclusions These results support treating childhood underweight and weight gain during childhood to adolescence/young adulthood as part of comprehensive adult MetS prevention efforts in men.

(Received May 01 2010)

(Accepted September 22 2010)

(Online publication November 17 2010)

Correspondence

c1 Corresponding author: Email mamartinez@unav.es

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