Evolution of obesity in a low birth weight cohort

P. H. Casey, Robert Bradley, L. Whiteside-Mansell, K. Barrett, J. M. Gossett, P. M. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Objective:The objective of this study was to determine the evolution of obesity status (OS) in a longitudinal cohort of low birth weight preterm (LBWPT) infants to an age of 8 years, and to determine whether rapid weight gain in the first year of life independently predicts 8-year OS. Study Design:In total, 985 infants (birth weight ≤ 2500 g, gestation age ≤ 37 weeks) were recruited from the nursery in an eight-site intervention research program and were evaluated at an age of 3, 5, 6.5 and 8 years. Weight and height were measured by standard protocol at each visit and body mass index was calculated. Obesity status is ≥95% for age and sex. Multiple logistic analyses were performed on 8-year OS with predictor variables including infant race, gender, small for gestational age status, birth weight category, neonatal health index, treatment group and first-year weight gain; maternal education and weight status before conception; and HOME Inventory. Result:Overall, 2.3% were OS at an age of 3 years, 6.1% at an age of 5 years, 7.7% at age 6.5 years and 8.7% at an age 8 years. OS varied by birth weight category at each visit. The infants born ≤ 1500 g had the lowest prevalence of OS at each age. In the logistic regression, maternal race (Hispanic) (adjusted odds ratio = 2.8, confidence interval = 1.2 to 6.8), maternal obese status (adjusted odds ratio 3.4, confidence interval = 1.5 to 7.8) and first-year weight gain (adjusted odds ratio = 2.7, confidence interval = 1.9 to 3.9), significantly predicted 8-year OS. Conclusion:OS is common in LBWPT infants during childhood, and prevalence varies by birth weight category. High weight gain in the first year of life is an important predictor of the development of OS in LBWPT children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-96
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • childhood obesity
  • low birth weight
  • obese children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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