Infant body mass index growth patterns predicted overweight at five years, waist-to-height ratio did not add to this predictivity

Acta Paediatr. 2019 May;108(5):945-953. doi: 10.1111/apa.14572. Epub 2018 Oct 15.


Aim: The aim of the present study was to examine body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) growth patterns from birth until five years regarding their ability to predict overweight or obesity in children at five years of age.

Methods: Population-based longitudinal birth cohort study of 1540 children from the south-west region of Sweden, recruited at the first visit to the child health care centres in 2007-2008. The children were followed for five years and classified into two weight groups according to the 2012 International Obesity Task Force criteria. BMI and WHtR standard deviation scores (SDS) were analysed with Student's t-tests and multiple logistic regression models.

Results: BMI-SDS and WHtR-SDS growth patterns were from an early age different in children with overweight or obesity, compared to in children with normal weight or underweight. Overweight or obesity was significantly predicted by BMI-SDS at 0-1 month (p < 0.001), ΔBMI-SDS between 0-1 and 12 months (p < 0.001) and between 18 and 48 months (p < 0.001), but not by WHtR-SDS, except for a negative association between 18 and 48 months in the boys (p = 0.040).

Conclusion: Overweight or obesity at five years could be predicted by early BMI-SDS growth patterns, and WHtR-SDS did not add to the predictivity with regard to BMI-SDS.

Keywords: Body mass index; Childhood obesity; Childhood overweight; Growth patterns; Waist-to-height ratio.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Height
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Weight
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Overweight / diagnosis
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sweden
  • Waist Circumference