Demographic, nutritional, and anthropometric data were collected from 134 preschool children enrolled in the Siouxland Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). All children were diagnosed as overweight between the ages of 8 months and 3 years. Weight and length/height z-scores were calculated for birth measurements and for postnatal measurements up to 3 years. The main hypothesis involved stability of weight and length/height z-scores between successive WIC visits. Average changes in z-scores between measurements were calculated and tested for significance using paired t-tests. Multiple regression analysis was used to test relationships between changes in weight z-scores and demographic/nutritional characteristics. The overweight group had a higher percentage of Hispanic children than the total Siouxland WIC population. Overweight children were also significantly different in terms of birthweight, monthly household income, number in the house, and mother's education level. The children displayed a large average increase in weight z-scores between birth and 8 months (P < 0.001). Weight z-scores also increased significantly between 12 and 30 months. Length z-scores increased significantly between 18 and 30 months but remained lower than weight z-scores. Initial weight, sex of child, breastfeeding, and household size were significantly related to changes in weight z-scores among overweight children. Results of recent studies suggest that rapid weight gain in infancy may increase the risk of overweight during later childhood.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.