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Relationship of Childhood Weight Status to Morbidity in Adults

Sidney Abraham, Gretchen Collins and Marie Nordsieck
HSMHA Health Reports
Vol. 86, No. 3 (Mar., 1971), pp. 273-284
DOI: 10.2307/4594149
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4594149
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Relationship of Childhood Weight Status to Morbidity in Adults
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Abstract

A cohort of white males who had attended elementary schools in Hagerstown, Md., between 1923 and 1928, and whose height-weight records for those years were available, was examined during 1961-63. A study of their childhood relative weight at ages 9-13, and of their adult relative weight 35-40 years later, was made in relation to selected physiological variables and diagnosed morbidity. Essential findings were as follows: Childhood relative weight at ages 9-13 had no significant relationship to adult levels of fasting blood sugar, serum cholesterol, beta-lipoprotein, or blood pressure, or to cardiovascular renal disease. Childhood relative weight at ages 9-13 was significantly related to hypertensive vascular disease. The below average weight group experienced a higher prevalence than observed in either average or moderately overweight childhood groups. Approximately 30 percent of the below average weight children became average weight adults and 21 percent became overweight adults. Of the average weight children, approximately 40 percent became overweight adults. Overweight children tended to remain overweight as adults. Adult relative weight of the same cohort, viewed 35-40 years later, was significantly associated with fasting blood sugar, beta-lipoprotein, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Elevated levels of each of these variables occurred with greater frequency in the overweight child. Adult relative weight was significantly associated with hypertensive vascular disease and cardiovascular renal disease; the higher prevalence occurred in the overweight adults. The highest risk for hypertensive vascular and cardiovascular renal disease was associated with the persons who acquired their overweight status as adults. The higher prevalence of these disease among the overweight adults was largely attributable to the adults who moved from a below average childhood weight category to an overweight adult group. The moderately or markedly overweight adult who was similarly classified as a child did not appear to be at greater risk than the average weight adult who had been an average weight child.

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