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Early anthropometric indices predict short stature and overweight status in a cohort of peruvians in early adolescence

Authors

  • Robie Sterling,

    1. Asociación Benéfica PRISMA, Lima, Peru
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  • J. Jaime Miranda,

    1. CRONICAS Center of Excellence in Chronic Diseases, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
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  • Robert H. Gilman,

    1. Asociación Benéfica PRISMA, Lima, Peru
    2. Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721
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  • Lilia Cabrera,

    1. Asociación Benéfica PRISMA, Lima, Peru
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  • Charles R. Sterling,

    1. Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333
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  • Caryn Bern,

    1. Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205
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  • William Checkley

    Corresponding author
    1. CRONICAS Center of Excellence in Chronic Diseases, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
    2. Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205
    3. Program in Global Disease Epidemiology and Control, Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205
    • Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, 1830 Monument Street, Fifth Floor, Baltimore, MD 21205
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  • Author contributions: R.S., J.M, R.G, and W.C designed research; R.S., J.M., and W.C. conducted research; R.S. and W.C. analyzed data; all authors participated in writing the manuscript; and, W.C. had primary responsibility for final content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Abstract

While childhood malnutrition is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, less well understood is how early childhood growth influences height and body composition later in life. We revisited 152 Peruvian children who participated in a birth cohort study between 1995 and 1998, and obtained anthropometric and bioimpedance measurements 11–14 years later. We used multivariable regression models to study the effects of childhood anthropometric indices on height and body composition in early adolescence. Each standard deviation decrease in length-for-age at birth was associated with a decrease in adolescent height-for-age of 0.7 SD in both boys and girls (all P < 0.001) and 9.7 greater odds of stunting (95% CI 3.3–28.6). Each SD decrease in length-for-age in the first 30 months of life was associated with a decrease in adolescent height-for-age of 0.4 in boys and 0.6 standard deviation in girls (all P < 0.001) and with 5.8 greater odds of stunting (95% CI 2.6–13.5). The effect of weight gain during early childhood on weight in early adolescence was more complex to understand. Weight-for-length at birth and rate of change in weight-for-length in early childhood were positively associated with age- and sex-adjusted body mass index and a greater risk of being overweight in early adolescence. Linear growth retardation in early childhood is a strong determinant of adolescent stature, indicating that, in developing countries, growth failure in height during early childhood persists through early adolescence. Interventions addressing linear growth retardation in childhood are likely to improve adolescent stature and related-health outcomes in adulthood. Am J Phys Anthropol 148:451–461, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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