BACKGROUND: A rapidly increasing BMI trajectory throughout childhood is associated with negative health outcomes in adulthood such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. The purpose of the current study was to assess whether BMI trajectories from age 5-15 predicted changes in weight and BMI from adolescence to adulthood, and dieting-related behaviors in young adulthood.
METHODS: Non-Hispanic White female participants from Early Dieting in Girls (n = 182), a longitudinal cohort study, were followed from age 5 to 15 and completed a follow-up survey at age 24. Participants were classified by age 5-15 BMI trajectory groups: UPC, accelerated weight gain from age 5-9; DDPC, accelerated weight gain from 5 to 9 followed by a decrease; 60PT, weight tracked along 60th percentile; 50PT, weight tracked along 50th percentile. Data at age 24 included self-reported weight, height, dietary restraint, disinhibition, and dieting.
RESULTS: Majority of participants (80.8%) completed the follow-up survey; of these participants, 60% in UPC group had obesity at age 24, compared to <10% in the other 3 groups. Participants in the UPC group had greater increases in BMI since age 15, compared to the 50PT group, and trend-level greater weight increases than those in the DDPC and 60PT groups. Dietary restraint, but not disinhibition, differed across the groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Children with accelerated weight gain continued to have the greatest weight gain from adolescence to adulthood and the highest prevalence of obesity in adulthood.