Background: Research suggests there are distinct trajectories to childhood overweight. Childhood overweight is a risk factor for adult cardiovascular disease, but whether childhood growth trajectories impact on cardiovascular structure and function in adolescence remains unknown.
Objectives: To 1) identify common BMI growth trajectories between birth and adolescence, and 2) determine if childhood BMI growth trajectories are associated with adolescent body composition and cardiovascular structure and function outcomes.
Methods: Design: Longitudinal data from a community-based prospective study in Melbourne, Australia. Participants: 252 adolescents aged 14-17 years at outcome. Measures: Height and weight measurements recorded up to 16 times between birth and adolescence with measurements taken during: early life (birth - 2 years); the period of adiposity rebound (4 - 6.5 years); and adolescence (10 - 14-17 years). Body composition and cardiovascular outcomes – Waist circumference, body fat percentage, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, augmentation index, pulse wave velocity, carotid intima media thickness, and retinal arteriolar-to-venule ratio were measured at outcome when participants were aged 14-17 years. Analysis: Latent class analysis performed to identify common BMI trajectories and assign participants to their most likely trajectory. Adjusted linear regression models used to examine associations between growth trajectories and adolescent body composition and cardiovascular outcomes.
Results: Three distinct BMI trajectories were identified (i) low normal weight (39%, reference group); (ii) high normal weight (51%); and (iii) overweight (10%). BMI growth trajectories were associated with waist circumference, body fat percentage and the arterial stiffness indicator, augmentation index at outcome. No other cardiovascular structure and function variables were associated with BMI growth trajectories.
Conclusions: Common childhood BMI growth trajectories were identified with BMI differences between trajectory groups evident by 1 year of age. Those in the ‘overweight’ group had poorer body composition and arterial stiffness by adolescence however no other cardiovascular phenotypes were evident.