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To determine the extent to which weight gain and eating behaviours in infancy predict later adiposity.
Population-based, prospective, longitudinal birth cohort study. Weights collected in infancy were used to calculate Z-scores for weight gain to age 1 year conditional on birth weight (CWG). To avoid multiple significance tests, variables from the parent questionnaire completed at age 1 year describing eating avidity were combined using general linear modelling to create an infancy avidity score. Anthropometry, skinfold thicknesses and bioelectrical impedance data collected at age 7–8 years were combined using factor analysis, to create an adiposity index.
Members of the Gateshead Millennium Study cohort with data at both time points (n 561).
CWG in infancy significantly predicted adiposity at age 7 years, but related more strongly to length and lean mass. High adiposity (> 90th internal percentile) at age 7 years was significantly associated with high CWG (relative risk 2·76; 95 % CI 1·5, 5·1) in infancy, but less so with raised (> 74th internal percentile) eating avidity in infancy (relative risk 1·87; 95 % CI 0·9, 3·7). However, the majority of children with high weight gain (77·6 %) or avidity (85·5 %) in infancy did not go on to have high adiposity at age 7 years.
Rapid weight gain in infancy and the eating behaviours which relate to it do predict later adiposity, but are more strongly predictive of later stature and lean mass.