Timing of excess weight gain in the avon longitudinal study of parents and children (ALSPAC)

Adrienne R. Hughes, Andrea Sherriff, Debbie A. Lawlor, Andrew R. Ness, John J. Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


To test the hypothesis that most excess weight gain occurs by school entry in a large sample of English children, and to determine when the greatest gain in excess weight occurred between birth and 15 years.
Longitudinal data were collected annually from birth to 15 years in 625 children. Weight and BMI at each time point were expressed relative to UK 1990 growth reference as z scores. Excess weight gain was calculated as the group increase in weight and BMI z scores between specific time periods.
Weight z score did not increase from birth to 5 years (mean difference: 0.04 [95% confidence interval (CI): -0.03-0.12] P = .30) but increased from 5 to 9 years (mean difference: 0.19 [95% CI: 0.14-0.23] P < .001). BMI z score increased from 7 to 9 years (mean difference: 0.22 [95% CI: 0.18-0.26] P < .001), with no evidence of a large increase before 7 years and after 9 years.
Our results do not support the hypothesis that most excess weight gain occurs in early childhood in contemporary English children. Excess weight gain was substantial in mid-childhood, with more gradual increases in early childhood and adolescence, which indicates that interventions to prevent excess weight should focus on school-aged children and adolescents as well as the preschool years. Pediatrics 2011;127:e730-e736

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e730-e736
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011


  • excess weight gain
  • avon longitudinal study
  • parents and children
  • english children
  • early childhood
  • mid-childhood
  • adolescence
  • school-aged children
  • perschool years
  • obesity
  • overweight

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