Research Article

Nature, nurture, and childhood overweight.

Br Med J 1978; 1 doi: (Published 11 March 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;1:603
  1. E M Poskitt,
  2. T J Cole


    The relative importance of dietary and familial factors in determining weight in early infancy were studied in 203 5-year-old children. Their age at weaning, energy intake in infancy and at 5 years, and maternal percentage expected weight were studied in relation to their percentage expected weight. Neither the estimated energy intake in infancy nor the intake at 5 years correlated significantly with their percentage expected weight at 5 years. Overweight 5-year-olds had not been weaned earlier than normal-weight 5-year-olds. There was a significant correlation between the percentage expected weights of the mothers and those of their children at 5 years of age, although the children of overweight mothers did not have higher energy intakes than the children of underweight mothers. A familial, perhaps genetically determined, tendency to overweight seems to be more important in determining whether a child will be overweight at 5 years old than early weaning and overfeeding in infancy.