Most babies slow to grow catch up by early teens
New parents are pleased when their baby gains weight as expected, but if the rate of weight gain is slow parents can become worried and concerned about their child's future size.
New research from the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol shows that most babies who are slow to put on weight in the first nine months of life have caught up to within the normal range by the age of 13, but remain lighter and shorter than many of their peers. There are significant differences in the pattern of 'catchup', depending on the infant's age when the slow weight gain occurs.
The new findings, published today [Monday 25 February] in the journal Pediatrics, are based on data from 11,499 participants in Children of the 90s, and provide the most conclusive and reassuring evidence for parents to date that, with the right care, many infants who fail to put on weight quickly in the first nine months of life will catch up over time.
The study found that, of the 11,499 infants born at term, 507 were slow to put on weight before the age of eight weeks ('early group') and 480 were slow to gain weight between eight weeks and nine months ('late group'). Thirty children were common to both groups.
The infants in the early group recovered quickly and had almost caught up in weight by the age of two, whereas those in the later group gained weight slowly until the age of 7, then had a 'spurt' between 7 and 10 years, but remained considerably shorter and lighter than their peers and those in the early group at the age of 13. At that age, children in the later group were on average 5.5k lighter and almost 4cm shorter than their peers; those in the early group were on average 2.5k lighter and 3.25cm shorter than their peers.
Slow weight gain is often seen by parents and some healthcare professionals as a sign of underlying ill health and clinicians face a dilemma between taking steps to increase a child's energy intake and putting them at risk of obesity later in life by encouraging too rapid weight gain.
The study shows that there were very different patterns of recovery between the early and late groups, even when other factors like the mother's education, background, and her weight and height were taken into account, but that there was little difference between boys and girls.
Professor Alan Emond, the paper's main author explains:
'The reason the early group caught up more quickly may be because those infants had obvious feeding difficulties and were more readily identified at the eight-week check, resulting in early treatment leading to a more rapid recovery. However, as Children of the 90s is an observational study, there is limited information available about which infants received nutritional supplements or medical treatments.
'Those children who showed slow weight gain later in infancy took longer to recover, because of the longer period of slow growth and because their parents were smaller and lighter too.
'Overall parents can be re-assured that well babies showing slow weight gain in the first year do eventually recover to within the normal range, but at 13 years tend to be lighter and smaller than many of their peers.'
The findings highlight the importance of monitoring a baby's weight and height gain during the first few weeks and months, but not creating anxiety with parents of slow-growing babies who are well, as most of these babies will catch up to within the national average over time.
The message to health professionals is that, unless children require intervention due to ill health, their calorie intake should not be increased as this may predispose them to obesity later in life. Feeding habits in the second six months of life determine a child's future weight gain, so consuming too many calories in infancy can lead to weight problems later in life.
More information: Alan Emond et al, 'Growth Outcomes of Weight Faltering in Infancy in ALSPAC' is published online in the journal Pediatrics on 25 February 2013
Journal reference: Pediatrics
Provided by University of Bristol
- Trappings of parenthood leads to long-term weight gain, new study shows Sep 23, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- 'Thriving infant' genes increase risk of obesity May 26, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Babies' rapid weight gain linked to higher blood pressure as adults Sep 02, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Infant weight gain linked to childhood obesity Mar 30, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Non-parental care of infants tied to unfavorable feeding practices Jul 11, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Absorption of light by spherical nanoparticle
1 hour ago Hello Can anyone tell me how the absorption of a polystyrene nanoparticles scales as a function of its diameter. The particle is spherical and...
Solvability of a circuit
6 hours ago Let's say I have a circuit consisting only of a finite number of batteries and resistors, all ideal. Given an arbitrary shape of this circuit, will I...
Question about perception of colors around light sources
9 hours ago When I look at a distant light source (like car headlights, or street lamp lights) I notice colors of the visible spectrum (as separated (as in after...
Does a charged particle rotate when traveling through a static Bf?
11 hours ago I have been looking at mass spectrometers, in particular the interactions between the Bf ind of a charged particle in motion in a static Bf of the...
Find a link between physics and assignment problems
12 hours ago Hi ! I've been working about assignments problems and how to solve them. I will have to do a presentation about it in few weeks. However, I'll...
Light as a source of electricity
12 hours ago Hello Dear Fellows! We all know that light is an electromagnetic wave and also we know that an antenna receives EM waves and...
- More from Physics Forums - Classical Physics
More news stories
Levels of physical inactivity and obesity are very high in children, with fewer than 50% of primary school-aged boys and fewer than 28% of girls meeting the minimum levels of physical activity required to maintain health. ...
Pediatrics May 17, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Poisonings in young children have increased over the past decade, mainly due to medications in the home. A new study led by the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital, found that medication-related poisonings ...
Pediatrics May 16, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
While considerable recent progress has been made against childhood diarrheal diseases, the number of children dying from diarrhoea remains unacceptably high.
Pediatrics May 14, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
It seems that even for the smallest of people, a gentle massage may be beneficial. Newborn intensive care units (NICUs) are stressful environments for preterm infants; mechanical ventilation, medical procedures, caregiving ...
Pediatrics May 14, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
A study by David Finkelhor, Ph.D., of the University of New Hampshire, and colleagues updates estimates and trends for childhood exposure to a range of violence, crime and abuse victimizations.
Pediatrics May 13, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have turned their view of osteoarthritis (OA) inside out. Literally. Instead of seeing the painful degenerative disease as a problem primarily of the cartilage that cushions joints, ...
12 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (4) | 0 |
In their quest to learn more about the variability of cells between and within tissues, biomedical scientists have devised tools capable of simultaneously measuring dozens of characteristics of individual ...
12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have identified a potential new risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea: asthma. Using data from the National Institutes of Health (Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)-funded Wisconsin ...
11 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A new study looking at sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and markers for Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and neuroimaging adds to the growing body of research linking the two.
11 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
The hunt for an HIV vaccine has gobbled up $8 billion in the past decade, and the failure of the most recent efficacy trial has delivered yet another setback to 26 years of efforts.
16 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Gourmands and foodies everywhere have long recognized ginger as a great way to add a little peppery zing to both sweet and savory dishes; now, a study from researchers at Columbia University shows purified components of the ...
11 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0