Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease

Original Article

Infant BMI trajectories are associated with young adult body composition

M. M. Slininga1a2 c1, A. H. Herringa2a3, B. M. Popkina1a2, E. J. Mayer-Davisa1 and L. S. Adaira1a2

a1 Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

a2 Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

a3 Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Abstract

The dynamic aspect of early life growth is not fully captured by typical analyses, which focus on one specific time period. To better understand how infant and young child growth relate to the development of adult body composition, the authors characterized body mass index (BMI) trajectories using latent class growth analysis (LCGA) and evaluated their association with adult body composition. Data are from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey, which followed a birth cohort to age 22 years (n = 1749). In both males and females, LCGA identified seven subgroups of respondents with similar BMI trajectories from 0 to 24 months (assessed with bimonthly anthropometrics). Trajectory groups were compared with conventional approaches: (1) accelerated growth between two time points (0–4 months), (2) continuous BMI gain between two points (0–4 months and 0–24 months) and (3) BMI measured at one time point (24 months) as predictors of young adult body composition measures. The seven trajectory groups were distinguished by age-specific differences in tempo and timing of BMI gain in infancy. Infant BMI trajectories were better than accelerated BMI gain between 0 and 4 months at predicting young adult body composition. After controlling for BMI at age 2 years, infant BMI trajectories still explained variation in adult body composition. Using unique longitudinal data and methods, we find that distinct infant BMI trajectories have long-term implications for the development of body composition.

(Received October 25 2011)

(Revised June 18 2012)

(Accepted July 17 2012)

(Online publication August 10 2012)

Key words

  • anthropometry;
  • growth and development;
  • infant;
  • infant health

Correspondence

c1 Address for correspondence: Dr M. M. Slining, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina, University Square, 123 Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-3997, USA. (Email slining@unc.edu)

0Comments