gms | German Medical Science

Kongress Medizin und Gesellschaft 2007

17. bis 21.09.2007, Augsburg

Rapid weight gain amongst term children whose birth weight is appropriate-for-gestational-age and dietary factors during infancy and early childhood

Meeting Abstract

  • Nadina Karaolis-Danckert - Forschungsinstitut für Kinderernährung, Dortmund
  • Anke LB Günther - Forschungsinstitut für Kinderernährung, Dortmund
  • Anja Kroke - Hochschule Fulda, Fachbereich Ökotrophologie, Fulda
  • Claudia Hornberg - Universität Bielefeld, Gesundheitswissenschaften, Bielefeld
  • Anette E Buyken - Forschungsinstitut für Kinderernährung, Dortmund

Kongress Medizin und Gesellschaft 2007. Augsburg, 17.-21.09.2007. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2007. Doc07gmds186

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: September 6, 2007

© 2007 Karaolis-Danckert et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: It is not clear whether the adverse effects of rapid weight gain in infancy, a risk factor for later obesity, are modified by nutrition in the first two years of life in term children whose birth weight is appropriate-for-gestational age (AGA).

Objective: To examine the interaction between rapid weight gain and nutrition in infancy and early childhood, and their effect on body fat percentage (BF%) trajectories between 2 and 5 years of age.

Methods: This analysis includes 249 (51.4% female) term AGA participants of the DOrtmund Nutritional and Anthropometric Longitudinally Designed (DONALD) Study, with repeated anthropometric measurements until 5 years of age, and information on breastfeeding status, as well as on diet at 12 and 18-24 months.

Results: Overall, 28.5% (71/249) of the children gained weight rapidly between birth and 24 months. Multilevel model analyses showed that rapid growers who had been fully breastfed for at least 4 months had a lower BF% at age 2 years than those who had not been fully breastfed for at least 4 months [β (±SE) -1.53 (±0.59%), p=0.005]. In addition, rapid growers with a consistently high fat intake at both 12 and 18-24 months did not display the physiological decrease in BF% between 2 and 5 years that would normally be expected (+0.73 (±0.26%)/year, p=0.0007).

Conclusions: Nutritional factors in early life influence the degree to which rapid weight gain between birth and 24 months modifies later body composition development: full breastfeeding for at least 4 months protects against high BF% among rapid growers, whilst a consistently high fat intake in the second year of life ‘inhibits’ the physiological decrease in BF% between 2 and 5 years. Whereas breastfeeding promotion must occur before a child’s growth pattern can be established, dietary fat intake in the second year of life may be appropriately adjusted.