Antecedents of Obesity Among Children Born Extremely Preterm

Pediatrics. 2018 Nov;142(5):e20180519. doi: 10.1542/peds.2018-0519. Epub 2018 Oct 5.


Background: Childhood obesity is a pervasive public health problem with risk factors such as maternal prepregnancy BMI and rapid infant weight gain. Although catch-up weight gain promotes more favorable neurodevelopment among infants born preterm, it is not clear whether faster weight gain early in life, or other correlates of preterm birth, are associated with later obesity in this population.

Methods: We used prospective data from the multicenter, observational Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborn Study. Among 1506 eligible individuals in the initial cohort, 1198 were eligible for follow-up at 10 years of age. We examined BMI in 871 children (58% of the cohort; 74% of survivors) and analyzed relationships between antecedents and overweight or obesity at 10 years of age. A time-oriented approach to multinomial multivariable regression enabled us to calculate odds of overweight and obesity associated with pre- and postnatal antecedents.

Results: Prepregnancy maternal BMI ≥25 and top quartile infant weight gain in the first year were associated with increased risk of both overweight and obesity at 10 years of age. Single marital status was a risk factor for later child obesity and exposure to tobacco smoke was a risk factor for later child overweight.

Conclusions: The risk profiles for overweight and obesity at 10 years of age among children born extremely preterm appear to be similar to the risk profiles of overweight and obesity among children born at term.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Extremely Premature / growth & development*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Pediatric Obesity / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / physiopathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Gain