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Adolescent growth and BMI and their associations with early childhood growth in an urban South African cohort

Nyati, L.H.
Pettifor, J.M.
Ong, K.K.
Norris, S.A.
Abstract
Objectives: The timing and magnitude of adolescent growth may be influenced by ethnicity and early life factors. We aimed to (a) characterize ethnic differences in the magnitude, timing, and intensity of adolescent growth in height, weight, and BMI; (b) assess the effect of early childhood growth on adolescent growth in black children. Methods: Data were from the Birth to Twenty Plus cohort (Bt20+) in Johannesburg, South Africa (n = 3273). Height, weight, and BMI were modeled with ethnic comparisons using the SuperImposition by Translation and Rotation for 2089 participants who had data from 7 to 23 years. Relative weight gain and relative linear growth between 0 and 24 months and 24 and 60 months were generated. Multiple regression analyses were used to assess associations between childhood and adolescent growth. Results: White children were 5 cm (SE: 0.7) taller than black children through adolescence. Black boys had a later timing of adolescent height (0.65 years ±0.12) than white boys, which in black girls was 0.24 years (0.11) earlier than in white girls. Black girls had faster BMI velocity than white girls. Among black children, birth weight and both relative weight gain 0 to 24 and relative linear growth between 3 and 24 months and 24 and 60 months were positively associated with the magnitude of adolescent growth and negatively associated with timing. Conclusion: Sex dimorphism in ethnic differences in timing of adolescent height growth may reflect some yet unexplained drivers for rapid weight gain and obesity in black females but not black males. Rapid weight gain in early life may contribute to faster adiposity accrual in adolescence.
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2020-08-18
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Wiley
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Nyati LH, Pettifor JM, Ong KK, Norris SA. Adolescent growth and BMI and their associations with early childhood growth in an urban South African cohort. American Journal of Human Biology. 2021;33(3):e23469. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.23469.
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