Healthy growth in children with Down syndrome


BACKGROUND: Complications of overweight amplify with age, and irreversible damage already exists in young persons. Identifying the most sensitive age interval(s) for adult overweight is relevant for primary prevention. The aim of the study was to assess the relative contribution of body mass index (BMI) changes between 0 and 18 years to adult overweight, and to identify the earliest critical growth period. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Data from 762 subjects in the Terneuzen Birth Cohort with an average of 21 growth measurements per subject from birth until 18 years were used. The main outcome measure was the BMI standard deviation score (SDS) at young adulthood. For each subject BMI SDS was fitted by a piecewise linear model at eight different ages and correlated to adult BMI SDS. The age intervals in between are considered critical according to three criteria, tested by respectively Students’ t-tests, multiple linear regression analyses and Pearson’s correlation tests. In the age intervals 4 months(m) -1 year(y), 2-6 y, 6-10 y and 10-18 y the BMI SDS change differs between adults with and without overweight (P<or=0.001). The age intervals 2-6 y and 10-18 y also meet the second criterion, implying that the BMI change during this period has a predictive value for adult BMI SDS in addition to BMI SDS at the end of the period. The largest rise in correlation between estimated BMI SDS and measured adult BMI SDS occurs during the period 2-6 y (from 0.36 to 0.63), which results in a high sensitivity (0.6) and specificity (0.8) by the age of 6 y. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The age interval from 2 y to 6 y is the earliest and most critical growth period for adult overweight. Therefore, primary prevention of adult overweight seems most likely to be successful if targeted at this specific age interval. By identifying those with an upwards centile crossing between 2 and 6 years, the development towards adult overweight might be reversed. JID: 101285081; OID: NLM: PMC2820098; 2009/08/09 [received]; 2010/01/07 [accepted]; 2010/02/11 [epublish]; epublish

Stef van Buuren
Stef van Buuren

My research interests include data science, missing data, child growth and development, and measurement.