Early metabolic imprinting as a determinant of childhood obesity

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Aims: Childhood obesity has seen an alarming increase in recent decades. This study was designed to assess the role of family history and perinatal programming in the aetiology of childhood obesity in a population known to have a high risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Methodology: The study was carried out among two study populations of children. The first was a population of 206 mixed-gender 5-year-old children; the second of 230 mixed-gender 9-year-old children. The children underwent standard anthropomorphic measurements that were correlated to family history of metabolic syndrome-related illness, the child's birth weight and a history of breastfeeding in early infant life. Results: No statistically significant correlation was noted with a family history of metabolic syndrome; but a definite (P = 0.04) negative correlation was noted with breastfeeding in the 5-year-old children. Children of low birth weight appeared to retain a lower body weight at five years of age than their higher birth weight counterparts (P = 0.002). The pattern changed to suggest a U-shaped distribution of obesity among the various birth weight groups of children, though statistical significance was noted only for the macrosomic group (P = 0.002). Conclusions: The study confirms the importance of intrauterine and early infant nutrition towards the development of childhood and later obesity. Children of low or high birth weight should be considered at risk and parents are advised actively regarding health lifestyle and nutrition options. © 2010 International Journal of Diabetes Mellitus. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




Scerri, C., & Savona-Ventura, C. (2010). Early metabolic imprinting as a determinant of childhood obesity. International Journal of Diabetes Mellitus, 2(3), 175–178. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdm.2010.08.003

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