A study by the Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto (ISPUP) concluded that children who start the second increase in body mass index (BMI), clinically called adipocyte rebound, have worse cardiometabolic indicators.
In a statement, the University of Porto institute explains today that the study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, concludes that children in whom adipocyte rebound occurs early present at 10 years of age “the worst cardiometabolic indicators”.
Adipocyte rebound is the clinical term used to designate the second moment in childhood when the increase in body mass index (BMI) begins.
During the first year of life, the child’s BMI reaches its maximum, then decreases until it reaches a minimum, usually around 5 to 7 years of age, when it increases again until adulthood.
To assess the age at which this second increase in BMI occurs and cardiometabolic health throughout childhood, the researchers used data from 3,372 children in the Generation XXI ‘cohort’ (ISPUP longitudinal study developed since 2005).
Cited in the statement, Ana Cristina Santos, coordinator of the investigation, says that the large amount of information from the Generation XXI ‘cohort’ allowed us to assess “the effect of the ‘timing’ of the adipocyte rebound on the development of adiposity [acumulação de gordura nos tecidos] and changing cardiometabolic indicators at 10 years old ”.
Although in almost half of the children the second increase in BMI took place “within a period considered normal”, between the ages of 5 and 6, the study showed that “more than 40% of the children had an adipocyte bump earlier than expected ”.
In 12.7% of these children, the second increase in BMI occurred “very early”, that is, around 3 and a half years, and in 29.9%, it occurred “early”, between 3 and a half and 5 years .
The study showed that, at age 10, these children had higher levels of fat accumulation in the tissues, as well as a worse cardiometabolic profile with “higher blood pressure, higher levels of insulin, triglycerides and C-reactive protein”, and levels lower HDL cholesterol, which is considered a protective factor against cardiovascular disease.
We found that these children, despite not being sick, already exhibit the worst cardiometabolic indicators at age 10, and are therefore at a higher risk of developing more adverse health outcomes throughout their lives ”, stresses Ana Cristina Santos.
The researchers now want to understand what are the determinants that cause this second increase in BMI to happen earlier than normal.
According to the researcher, the objective is, therefore, to identify “the modifiable factors that determine this occurrence and to act on these determinants, in order to try to minimize the number of children who have an adipocyte rebound earlier”.