Table 1.

Summary data extracted from studies of infant size, ordered by year of birth

StudyNo of subjects, year of birthMeasure of infant sizeDefinition of obesityAnalysisSize of effectRisk of bias
Mossberg (1989)26 Stockholm, Sweden27 (sex not reported), 1927-47Diagnosed as clinically obese by age 2 yearsWeight for height SD scores at 40-50 years v reference populationWeight for height SD scores with obesity reported in infancy and at follow-up in adulthoodSD scores (SE of mean): 2.3 (0.31) on admission; 1.8 (0.46) in late childhood; 0.2 (0.28) in adulthood (40-50 years)High
Guo (1994)3 USA555 (50% male), 1929-60BMI at 75th centile v 50th centileBMI >28 kg/m2 (men) or >26 kg/m2 (women) at 35 yearsLogistic regression giving odds ratio for overweight in adulthood by higher BMI centile in infancy v lower one (50th, 75th centiles used)Odds ratios (95% CI) at 1 year 1.48 (0.99 to 2.21) for males, 1.54 (1.01 to 2.35) for females; at 2 years 1.63 (1.04 to 2.54) for males, 1.51 (0.96 to 2.38) for femalesMedium
Eriksson (2003)7 Helsinki, Finland2135 male, 2380 female, 1933-44BMI at 6 monthsMaximum lifetime risk of obesity defined as BMI≥30 kg/m2 at 60-70 yearsIncidence (%) of adult obesity in each of four BMI categories at 6 monthsCumulative incidence (95% CI): males: 28.6 (24.1 to 33.1) in lowest 6 month group (<16.3 kg/m2), 44.1 (40.0 to 48.5) in highest 6 month group (>18.0 kg/m2), P<0.0001 for trend; females: 27.5 (23.8 to 31.3) in lowest 6 month group (<16.3 kg/m2), 36.8 (32.0 to 41.7) in highest 6 month group (>18.0 kg/m2), P=0.001 for trendMedium
Heald (1965)24 Washington DC; Massachusetts, USA158 cases, 94 controls (all female), 1945-501 year weight (lb)Cases (clinically obese) and controls (not obese) at mean age 15 yearsMean values for infant size reported for cases and controls, with SDs and t tests for differencesMean difference in 1 year weight (lb): cases-controls 1.446 (P=0.009)High
Charney (1976)16 Rochester, USA366 (sex not reported), 1945-55Infant obesity: weight centile >90% at 3 and 6 monthsWeight≥20% above median for height and age at 20-30 yearsContingency tables of heavy, average, and light infants and underweight, normal, overweight, and obese adults, from which relative risks of adult obesity in “obese” v non-obese infants were derivedRelative risks: 1.63 (1.14 to 2.33) for unadjusted (n=366), 1.81 (0.96 to 3.44) for neither parent overweight (n=225), 3.37 (1.69 to 6.70) for at least one parent overweight (n=110), and 2.51 (2.25 to 2.80) for combined (n=335)High
Asher (1966)17 Birmingham, UK137 (sex not reported): 21 cases, 24 controls, 1950Infant obesity: weight >90th centile at 6 months; >97th centile at 6 monthsChildhood obesity: weight >90th centile at 3-5 years; weight for height >97th centile at 5 yearsRelative risk for child obesity in “obese” v non-obese infantsRelative risks: 9.33 (0.52 to 167) for weight >90th centile at 3-5 years; 6.56 (2.90 to 14.8) for weight for height >97th centile at 5 yearsHigh
Rolland-Cachera (1987)12 France164 (52% male), 1950Infant obesity: BMI >75th centile at 1 yearBMI >75th centile: >23.4 kg/m2 (men) or >22.3kg/m2 (women) at 21 yearsRelative risk of obesity at 21 years in “obese” v non-obese infantsRelative risk (95% CI) 2.76 (1.32 to 5.77)Medium
Garn (1985)21 Tecumseh, USA135 (39% male), 1957-60Infant obesity at 1 or 2 years: triceps skinfold >85th centile for age/sex. Same definition for subscapular skinfoldSame definitions as for infancy at 21-22 yearsPercentage of “obese” infants who remained obese 20 years later, with P value for deviation from chance figure of 15% (with binomial test)Percentage of obese infant (triceps): 33.3% (P=0.21) at 1-21 years; 18.2% (P=0.77) at 2-22 years; percentage of obese infant (subscapular) 33.3% (P=0.21) at 1-21 years; 20.0% (P=0.66) at 2-22 yearsMedium
Johnston (1978)25 Philadelphia, USA798 (51% male), 1958-65Relative weight: weight for height≥1 SD at 1 year (high) v≤-1 at 1 year (low)At 9-15 years: relative weight (predicted weight/actual weight)≥120%; triceps skinfold >90th centile for age, sex/raceRelative risk of obesity at ages 9-15 years; according to whether subjects had high or low relative weight or skinfold thickness at 1 year, stratified for sexRelative risk (95% CI) for relative weight 3.75 (2.15 to 6.54) for males, 4.06 (2.52 to 6.53) for females; for triceps skinfold 2.97 (2.03 to 4.35) for males, 2.70 (1.74 to 4.17) for femalesHigh
Wilkinson (1977)23 Newcastle upon Tyne, UK48 cases; 48 controls (42% male), 1960-2Weight, at 6 and 12 months (obese >90th centile)Obesity at 10 years, defined as weight for height >97th centile. Controls defined as weight for height 25th-75th centileOdds ratio of obesity at 10 years according to weight at 6 and 12 monthsOdds ratio (95% CI) of obesity at 10 years in children who had been obese at 6 or 12 months v non-obese infants: 6 month weight (n=48) 2.00 (0.88 to 4.56); 12 month weight (n=42) 1.62 (0.63 to 4.15)Medium
Whitaker (1997)11 Washington State, USA854 (36% male), 1965-70Infant obesity: BMI >85th centile (obese) or >95th (very obese) at 1-2 yearsBMI≥27.8 kg/m2 (men) or≥27.3 kg/m2 (women) at 25 yearsLogistic regression giving odds ratios for obesity in adulthood by whether “obese” or “very obese” in infancy v “not obese”Odds ratio (unadjusted): 1.3 (0.7 to 2.5) for obese or very obese; 2.0 (0.7 to 5.7) for very obese (findings remained non-significant after adjustment for parental obesity)Medium
Poskitt (1977)18 Dudley, UK203 (49% male), 1968-70Percentage weight at age when height is at 50th centile, measured at around 5 months (obese >120%)Same, at around 5 yearsRelative risk of childhood obesity at 5 years of age for “obese” infants v non-obese infantsRelative risk (95% CI) 9.38 (1.64 to 53.6)Medium
Tienboon (2002)15 New South Wales, Australia83 (48% male), 1972BMI >1 SD from group mean for age at 1 yearBMI >1 SD from group mean at 15 yearsRelative risk of obesity at 15 years for “obese” v non-obese infantsRelative risk (95% CI) 2.03 (0.47 to 8.82)Medium
He (1999)14 Gothenburg, Sweden3650 (51% male), 1972-5Infant obesity: BMI >18 kg/m2 (both sexes) at 1-2 yearsBMI≥25kg/m2 (both sexes) at 18 yearsOdds ratio of obesity at 18 years according to whether “obese” at 1 or 2 yearsOdds ratio 995% CI) at 1 year: 1.62 (1.10 to 2.38) for males, 2.31 (1.57 to 3.41) for females, 1.93 (1.47 to 2.54) for both; at 2 years: 3.00 (2.03 to 4.43) for males, 2.90 (1.95 to 4.31) for females, 2.92 (2.22 to 3.86) for bothMedium
Monteiro (2003)19 Pelotas, Brazil1041 (52% male), 1982Weight for height SD score at 2 yearsBMI≥85th centile at 14-16 yearsOdds ratio of overweight and obesity in adolescence associated with 1 unit change in infancy z scores for sizeUnadjusted odds ratio (cut off + 1 SD at 2 years) 3.54 (2.53 to 4.96); odds ratio for 1 unit z score increase in weight for height SD 1.35 (1.53 to 1.73) adjusted for socioeconomic status, maternal size, and infant feedingLow
Stettler (2002)6 USA19 397 (50% male), 1985-90Infant size: weight at 1 year (g)BMI >95th centile for age and sex at 7 yearsLogistic regression giving odds ratio for risk of overweight at 7 years according to each unit (100g) increase in weight at 1 yearOdds ratios (95% CI):1.05 (1.04 to 1.05) unadjusted, 1.50 (1.38 to 1.63) adjusted for sex, birth weight, maternal BMI, and educationMedium
Mei (2003)20 USA380 518 (51% male), 1986-90Weight for height≥95th centile at 0-11 months (1); weight for height≥95th centile at 12-23 months (2)Weight for height≥95th centile at 24-35 months (3); weight for height≥95th centile at 36-47 months (4)Relative risk of childhood obesity according to infant obesity category. No confidence intervals reportedRelative risk 3.3 for (1) and (3), 2.9 for (1) and (4), 6.4 for (2) and (3), 5.3 for (2) and (4)Medium
Reilly (2005)22 Avon, UK857 (sex not stated for infant growth analysis 51% in entire cohort), 1991-2Weight SD scores at 8 and 18 monthsObesity at age 7 years, defined as BMI≥95th centile relative to UK 1990 reference populationLogistic regression giving odds ratio of obesity at 7 years of age for children in highest quarter for weight SD score at 18 months v children in other quartersOdds ratio (95% CI) for weight at 8 months: 3.03 (1.89 to 4.85) unadjusted, 3.13 (1.43 to 6.85) adjusted; weight at 18 months: 3.71 (2.29 to 6.00) unadjusted, 2.65 (1.25 to 5.59) adjusted (adjusted for birth weight, maternal smoking, parental obesity, hours of sleep at age 30 months, time spent watching television at 30 months, diet, maternal education, sex)Low