Changes in overall and regional body fatness from childhood to early adolescence.


Post-graduate Program in Epidemiology, Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil. [Email]


Children weight gain is mostly due to fat-free mass than fat mass, but the changes in body composition dynamics related to child growth can be attributed to the obesity epidemic. We aimed to assess changes in measures of body composition from 6 to 11 years of age according to sex, and to examine whether changes in these measures are associated with sociodemographic characteristics. A longitudinal study using data from the 2004 Pelotas Birth Cohort was conducted, and assessed body composition and fat distribution through measures of BMI, fat mass index, fat-free mass index, and android and gynoid fat mass percentages from DXA. Changes in body fatness were calculated as the difference between measures collected at 6 and 11 years of age, and linear regression models were used to assess changes in body composition according to sociodemographic characteristics. An increase in mean BMI z-score from 6 to 11 years was observed only in boys and obesity prevalence reached one out of four boys and one out of five girls. There was an increase in fat mass percentage, fat mass index and android fat mass, with this effect more accentuated in boys when compared to girls. Maternal BMI was the most consistent factor associated with change in body fatness. Children from mothers with obesity showed larger increases in fat mass percentage, fat mass index and android fat mass. There was an increase in body fatness and a centralisation of body shape, mostly associated with male sex and maternal obesity. These results may indicate an early risk of non-communicable diseases in children from the Pelotas 2004 Birth Cohort.

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