Excess early postnatal weight gain leads to increased abdominal fat in young children

Int J Pediatr. 2012;2012:141656. doi: 10.1155/2012/141656. Epub 2012 May 9.


Background. Increased childhood weight gain has been associated with later adiposity. Whether excess early postnatal weight gain plays a role in childhood abdominal fat is unknown. Design. In the ongoing Wheezing Illnesses Study Leidsche Rijn (WHISTLER), birth cohort weight and length from birth to age 3 months were obtained. In the first 316 five-year-olds, intra-abdominal and subcutaneous fat were measured ultrasonographically. Individual weight and length gain rates were assessed in each child. Internal Z-scores of weight for length gain (WLG) were calculated. Multiple imputation was used to deal with missing covariates. Results. Per-1-unit increase in Z-score WLG from birth to 3 months, BMI, waist circumference, and subcutaneous fat were significantly higher; 0.51 kg/m(2), 0.84 cm, and 0.50 mm, respectively. After multiple imputation, a trend towards significance was observed for intra-abdominal fat as well (0.51 mm/SD). In the associations with 5-year adiposity, no interaction between postnatal Z-score WLG and birth size was found. Conclusion. Excess early postnatal weight gain is associated with increased general and central adiposity, characterized by more subcutaneous and likely more intra-abdominal fat at 5 years of age.