Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Rapid infant weight gain and early childhood obesity in low-income Latinos and non-Latinos

TitleRapid infant weight gain and early childhood obesity in low-income Latinos and non-Latinos
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsPolk, S, Thornton, RJ, Caulfield, L, Muñoz, A
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Type of ArticleArticle
KeywordsBMI, Childhood obesity, Latino, Weight-for-length Z-score

Objective To examine the growth of infants and toddlers in a population that is both under-represented in the literature and at high risk for childhood obesity. Design Weight and height measurements were extracted from all visits for a sample of 0-4-year-old, low-income, Latino and non-Latino patients of an urban, academic general paediatric practice. Early growth was characterized as change in weight-for-length Z-score (WLZ) from birth to 3 years. The outcome of interest was BMI Z-score (BMIZ) at age 3 years. Mixed-effects models and multivariate linear regression were used to analyse the association between infant growth and early childhood obesity. Setting Baltimore, MD, USA. Subjects Latino (n 210) and non-Latino (n 253) children, born in 2003-2004. Results An increase in WLZ from birth to 2 years was observed for this cohort as well as a high incidence of overweight and obesity. WLZ at birth and change in WLZ from birth to 2 years were both significantly and positively associated with increases in BMIZ at 3 years of age. The effect of the change in WLZ was twofold higher than the effect of WLZ at birth. Conclusions An increase in WLZ during the first 2 years of life increased the risk of early childhood obesity. Latino children had a higher incidence of early childhood obesity than non-Latino children in this low-income sample. Copyright © The Authors 2015.