Early adiposity rebound (EAR) predicts paediatric overweight/obesity, but current approaches do not consider both the starting point of EAR and the BMI trajectory. We compared the clinical characteristics at birth, age 3–5 and 6–8 years of children, according to the EAR and to its type (type A/type B-EAR). We assessed the childrenʼs odds of being classified as overweight/obese at age 6–8 years, according to the type of EAR as defined at age 3–5 years. As part of this two-wave observational study, 1055 children were recruited and examined at age 3–5 years. Antenatal and postnatal information was collected through interviews with parents, and weight and height from the health records. Type A and type B-EAR were defined in wave 1 according to the BMI nadir and the variation of BMI z-score between the starting point of the adiposity rebound and the last point on the curve. At 6–8 years (wave 2), 867 children were followed up; 426 (40·4 %) children demonstrated EAR. Among them, 172 had type A-EAR, higher rates of parental obesity (P < 0·05) and greater birth weight compared with other children (P < 0·001). Odds for overweight/obesity at 6–8 years, when adjusting for antenatal and postnatal factors, was 21·35 (95 % CI 10·94, 41·66) in type A-EAR children and not significant in type B-EAR children (OR 1·76; 95 % CI 0·84, 3·68) compared with children without EAR. Classification of EAR into two subtypes provides physicians with a reliable approach to identify children at risk for overweight/obesity before the age of 5 years.