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date: 18 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Anthropometric measures in childhood predict the risk of metabolic diseases decades later. Low birthweight and short stature are associated with higher incidence of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes in adulthood, supporting a hypothesis that early malnutrition has long-lasting adverse effects on metabolism. However, in industrialized countries, overnutrition has replaced undernutrition as a major childhood risk factor of metabolic diseases. Subsequently, body mass index is currently the most important childhood anthropometric indicator predicting the risk of adult metabolic diseases. One unit increase of body mass index at 13 years of age was found to increase the risk of coronary heart disease by 20%. Rapid growth in height in infancy, mid-childhood, and at the start of puberty is also associated with higher risk of coronary heart disease. Physical development over childhood is closely related to nutrition and other environmental factors; these associations indicate the importance of childhood environment for healthy adulthood.

Keywords: childhood, anthropometrics, metabolism, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, height, BMI, birthweight

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