Predicting the development of overweight and obesity in children between 2.5 and 8 years of age: the prospective ABIS study

Karel Duchen*, Mike Jones, Åshild Olsen Faresjö, Tomas Faresjö, Johnny Ludvigsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: A relationship between overweight and obesity early in life and adolescence has been reported. The aim of this study was to track changes in overweight/obesity in children and to assess risk factors related to the persistence of overweight/obesity between 2.5 and 8 years. Study design: Children who participated in all three follow-ups at 2.5, 5 and 8 years in the prospective cohort All Children in Southeast Sweden (ABIS) (N = 2245, 52.1% boys and 47.9% girls) were classified as underweight, normal, overweight or with obesity, and changes within categories with age were related to risk factors for development of obesity in a multivariate analysis. Results: The prevalence of overweight and obesity between 2.5 and 8 years was 11%–12% and 2%–3%, respectively. Children with normal weight remained in the same category over the years, 86% between 2.5 to 5 years and 87% between 5 and 8 years. Overweight and obesity at 5 and 8 years were positively related to each other (p < 0.0001 for both). High level of TV watching at 8 years and high maternal body mass index (BMI) when the child was 5 years were related to lower probability to a normalized ISO-BMI between 5 and 8 years of age (p < 0.05 for both). Conclusion: Children with ISO-BMI 18.5 to 24.9 remain in that range during the first 8 years of life. Children with overweight early in life gain weight and develop obesity, and children with obesity tend to remain with obesity up to 8 years of age. TV watching and high maternal BMI were related to lower probability to weight normalization between 5 and 8 years of age. A multidisciplinary approach to promote dietary and physical activity changes in the entire family should be used for the treatment and prevention of overweight and obesity in early childhood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-408
Number of pages8
JournalObesity Science and Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • children
  • obesity
  • risk factors
  • tracking


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