Early Risk Factors of Overweight Developmental Trajectories during Middle Childhood

Type Article

Journal Article


L. E. Pryor; M. Brendgen; R. E. Tremblay; J. B. Pingault; X. Liu; L. Dubois; E. Touchette; B. Falissard; M. Boivin; S. M. Côté

Year of publication



PLoS One








BACKGROUND: Research is needed to identify early life risk factors associated with different developmental paths leading to overweight by adolescence. OBJECTIVES: To model heterogeneity in overweight development during middle childhood and identify factors associated with differing overweight trajectories. METHODS: Data was drawn from the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development (QLSCD; 1998-2010). Trained research assistants measured height and weight according to a standardized protocol and conducted yearly home interviews with the child's caregiver (mother in 98% of cases). Information on several putative early life risk factors for the development of overweight were obtained, including factors related to the child's perinatal, early behavioral family and social environment. Group-based trajectories of the probability of overweight (6-12 years) were identified with a semiparametric method (n=1678). Logistic regression analyses were used to identify early risk factors (5 months- 5 years) associated with each trajectory. RESULTS: Three trajectories of overweight were identified: early-onset overweight" (11.0 %), "late-onset overweight" (16.6%) and "never overweight" (72.5%). Multinomial analyses indicated that children in the early and late-onset group, compared to the never overweight group, had 3 common types of risk factors: parental overweight, preschool overweight history, and large size for gestational age. Maternal overprotection (OR= 1.12, CI: 1.01-1.25), short nighttime sleep duration (OR=1.66, CI: 1.07-2.57), and immigrant status (OR=2.01, CI: 1.05-3.84) were factors specific to the early-onset group. Finally, family food insufficiency (OR=1.81, CI: 1.00-3.28) was weakly associated with membership in the late-onset trajectory group. CONCLUSIONS: The development of overweight in childhood follows two different trajectories, which have common and distinct risk factors that could be the target of early preventive interventions."