Relative weight gain and obesity as a child predict metabolic syndrome as an adult

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1999 Jun;23(6):656-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0800898.


Objective: To examine whether birth weight, weight gain from birth to the age of seven or body-mass index at the age of seven have any association with metabolic syndrome as an adult.

Design: A population study.

Subjects: 210 men and 218 women out of a total 712 subjects aged 36, 41 or 46 years in Pieksämäki town, Finland.

Main outcome measures: Weight at birth and weight and height at the age of seven and metabolic syndrome defined as a clustering of hypertension, dyslipidemia (hypertriglyceridaemia or low high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol), and insulin resistance (inferred by abnormal glucose tolerance or hyperinsulinaemia).

Results: No association was found between birth weight and the metabolic syndrome as an adult. Among obese children at the age of seven (body-mass index in the highest quartile), the odds ratio (OR) for the metabolic syndrome in adulthood was 4.4 (95% CI 2.1-9.5) as compared to the other children (the three other quartiles combined). After adjustment for age, sex and current obesity, the risk of the syndrome still was 2.4 (95% CI 2.1-9.5).

Conclusion: We could not replicate the close association between low birth weight and the metabolic syndrome in adulthood as has been shown in some earlier studies. Obesity at the age of seven predicts the metabolic syndrome in adulthood.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Metabolic Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Diseases / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Odds Ratio
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Gain*