Tall children have a higher risk of developing obesity

There is a longitudinal relation of childhood height to subsequent obesity.

Several cross‐sectional studies have indicated that height in childhood is connected with BMI and with body fatness, and two longitudinal studies have revealed that childhood height is related to adult BMI.

A new study recently published in journal obesity explored this longitudinal association in an electronic health record database of 2.8 million children aged between 2 and 13 years. When they have re-examined an average of 4 years later (but up to 13 years later), taller children were more likely to have a higher body mass index than shorter children.

For instance, among the thinnest children at the beginning, the predominance of obesity at the second test was 5-fold higher in the tallest kids than in the shortest kids (3.1% versus 0.6%). Among the heaviest children at the beginning, the particular predominance rates of obesity were 89.5% versus 53.4%. 

The relationship between taller height and obesity at the subsequent test was strongest in kids who were initially inspected when they were younger than seven years old.

Lead author David S. Freedman, Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “As about half of this association is independent of the initial body mass index of the child, the use of height may be a simple way to more accurately classify which children will become obese.”

Journal Reference:
  1. David S. Freedman et al. The Longitudinal Relation of Childhood Height to Subsequent Obesity in a Large Electronic Health Record Database, Obesity. DOI: 10.1002/oby.22901

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