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Racial differences in crossing major growth percentiles in infancy


Background/aims We examined associations of ever crossing upwards ≥2 (vs <2) major weight-for-length (WFL) percentiles in the first 24 months with obesity at 5 years among white and black children.

Methods We included 10 979 white and 1245 black children from the Linked CENTURY Study with percentile crossing data in all four 6-month periods in the first 24 months and obesity (age-specific and sex-specific body mass index ≥95th percentile) at 5 years. We used adjusted logistic regression models and stratified by race.

Results 64% of children crossed upwards ≥2 major WFL percentiles in the first 2 years. Among white children, 12% were obese vs 7% for <2 crossings, while among black children the frequencies were 23% vs 9%. Black children (adjusted OR 2.94, 2.04 to 4.23) who had ever crossed upwards ≥2 major WFL percentiles had a higher odds of obesity at age 5 than white children (adjusted OR 1.89, 1.64 to 2.18) (interaction p=0.02).

Conclusions Our results suggest that rapid weight gain in infancy is more deleterious among black than white children for later obesity.

  • Growth
  • health disparities
  • pediatric obesity

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