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Accelerated weight gain, prematurity, and the risk of childhood obesity: A meta-analysis and systematic review

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The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature was to analyze and evaluate the impact of prematurity and accelerated weight gain on the risk of childhood and adolescent obesity. CINAHL, Embase, PubMed, and Web of Science databases were searched until December 2019 which yielded 19 studies with a total of 169,439 children enrolled were systematically reviewed. The results revealed that preterm infants had a greater likelihood of childhood obesity (defined as BMI ≥95th percentile for age-sex), than term infants (OR = 1.19, 95% CI [1.13, 1.26]). However, no difference of childhood obesity was found between "small for gestational age"(SGA) and "appropriate for gestational age"(AGA) among preterms. Accelerated weight gain (defined as weight gain velocity during first two years after birth) significantly increased the likelihood of subsequent childhood obesity among preterms (aOR = 1.87, 95% CI [1.57, 2.231]). In conclusion, accelerated weight gain at infancy among preterm children may be a critical contributor to obesity in later life. Establishing optimal growth trajectories and timely referral to health care providers may be of clinical importance.

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