Th e prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity has increased dramatically in developed countries over the past two decades. Childhood obesity is associated with short-term morbidity such as asthma and psychological problems and with an increased risk for chronic morbidity and mortality in adulthood. Previous studies have shown that both parental anthropometrics and anthropometrics at birth are associated with obesity in childhood. Birth weight is strongly associated with perinatal morbidity and mortality. Low birth weight is related to impaired growth and development, and increased mortality in infancy. High birth weight is related to complications during delivery (such as shoulder dystocia and caesarean sections) and to obesity during child- and adulthood. Low birth weight seems also to be associated with diseases in adulthood such as obesity in later life. Determinants of adult disease have been suggested to be: parental anthropometrics, fetal growth and genetics. Until now birth weight was used as a proxy for fetal growth. Although birth weight is the result of fetal growth during pregnancy, diff erent fetal growth patterns may lead to diff erent health consequences.

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A.C.S. Hokken-Koelega (Anita) , A. Hofman (Albert)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Financial support for publication: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Danone Research – Centre for Specialised Nutrition.
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Ay, L. (2011, January 19). Body composition in early childhood : Parental, fetal, postnata and genetic determinants of fat, lean and bone mass. The Generation R Study. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from