Longitudinal growth changes from birth to 8–9 years in preterm and full term births

Vereen, R., Dobson, N*, Olsen, C., Raiciulescu, S., Kuehn, D., Stokes, T., Hunt, C. | JNPM 2020;


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study is to assess the effect of age at adiposity rebound (AR) and changes in growth between birth and 6 months on growth status at 8–9 years in children born term and preterm. Age at AR is inversely correlated with risk for later obesity in children born full term, but has not been analyzed in children born preterm.

METHODS: Birth anthropometrics, and weight and length/height data from age 6 months through 8–9 years were recorded for 175 children born in 2008 in the military health system. Calculated variables include body mass index (BMI, kg/m2), Z-scores, and age at AR. Results:Age at AR could be calculated for 150 children (32% preterm); average age was 5.4 years and 5.3 years for children born term and preterm, respectively (NS). For children born term and preterm, there was a significant correlation between younger age at AR and higher BMI Z-score at 8–9 years (r = – 0.685), and a direct relationship between weight Z-score change from birth to 6 months and weight Z-scores at 8–9 years (p = 0.034).

CONCLUSIONS: Younger age at AR correlates with higher BMI Z-score at 8–9 years in children born both term and preterm. Weight gain from birth to 6 months correlates with weight Z-score at 8–9 years. These results emphasize the importance of younger age at AR in addition to greater early weight gain as an indicator of later obesity.

*Corresponding Author: 

Nicole R. Dobson, M.D., Uniformed Services University, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814-4799, USA. Tel.: +1 301 319 8621; Fax: +1 301 295 3898; E-mail: Nicole.dobson@usuhs.edu.