Physiological mechanisms underlying children's circannual growth patterns and their contributions to the obesity epidemic in elementary school age children

Obes Rev. 2020 Mar;21(3):e12973. doi: 10.1111/obr.12973. Epub 2019 Nov 18.


Several studies since the 1990s have demonstrated that children increase their body mass index at a faster rate during summer months compared with the school year, leading some to conclude that the out-of-school summer environment is responsible. Other studies, however, have suggested that seasonality may play a role in children's height and weight changes across the year. This article reviews evidence for seasonal differences in the rate of children's height and weight gain and proposes potential physiological mechanisms that may explain these seasonal variations.

Keywords: children; circannual rhythms; growth patterns; seasonality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Height / physiology*
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Child
  • Epidemics
  • Humans
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Seasons*