Objective: To investigate whether birth weight and postnatal growth rates are independently related to the development of overweight and wheeze up to age 3 years.
Study design: Children from the LucKi Birth Cohort Study with complete follow-up for repeated questionnaires (at age 0, 7, and 14 months and 3 years) and informed consent to use height and weight data (measured by trained personnel at age 0, 7, and 14 months and 2 and 3 years) were included (n = 566). Wheeze (parental-reported) and overweight (body mass index [BMI] >85th percentile) were regressed with generalized estimating equations on birth weight and relative growth rates (difference SDS for weight, height, and BMI).
Results: Higher birth weight and higher weight and BMI growth rates were associated with increased risk of overweight, but not of wheeze, up to age 3 years. Higher height growth rate was associated with lower risk of wheeze up to 3 years, independent of overweight (aOR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.53-0.79). In time-lag models, wheeze was associated with subsequently reduced height growth up to age 14 months, but not vice versa.
Conclusion: Only height growth rate, and not weight and BMI growth rate, is associated with preschool wheeze, independent of overweight. Children who wheeze demonstrate a subsequent reduction in height growth up to age 14 months, but not vice versa. Because height growth rate is not associated with overweight, preschool wheeze and overweight are not associated throughout early life growth.
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