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OBJECTIVE: To assess whether different trajectories of weight gain since birth influence bone mineral content (BMC) and areal bone mineral density (aBMD) at 7 years of age. STUDY DESIGN: We studied a subsample of 1889 children from the Generation XXI birth cohort who underwent whole-body dual-energy radiograph absorptiometry. Weight trajectories identified through normal mixture modeling for model-based clustering and labeled "normal weight gain," "weight gain during infancy," "weight gain during childhood," and "persistent weight gain" were used. Differences in subtotal BMC, aBMD, and size-corrected BMC (scBMC) at age 7 years according to weight trajectories were estimated through analysis of covariance. RESULTS: Compared with the "normal weight gain" trajectory, children in the remaining trajectories had significantly greater BMC, aBMD, and scBMC at age 7 years, with the strongest associations for "persistent weight gain" (girls [BMC: 674.0 vs 559.8 g, aBMD: 0.677 vs 0.588 g/cm2, scBMC: 640.7 vs 577.4 g], boys [BMC: 689.4 vs 580.8 g, aBMD: 0.682 vs 0.611 g/cm2, scBMC: 633.0 vs 595.6 g]). After adjustment for current weight, and alternatively for fat and lean mass, children with a "weight gain during childhood" trajectory had greater BMC and aBMD than those with a "normal weight gain" trajectory, although significant differences were restricted to girls (BMC: 601.4 vs 589.2 g, aBMD: 0.618 vs 0.609 g/cm2). CONCLUSION: Overall, children following a trajectory of persistent weight gain since birth had clearly increased bone mass at 7 years, but weight gain seemed slightly more beneficial when it occurred later rather than on a normal trajectory during the first 7 years of life.

Original publication




Journal article


J pediatr

Publication Date





117 - 124.e2


bone density, cohort study, generation XXI, weight trajectories, Absorptiometry, Photon, Bone Density, Child, Child Development, Child, Preschool, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Male, Prospective Studies, Weight Gain