Pubertal Development and Prepubertal Height and Weight Jointly Predict Young Adult Height and Body Mass Index in a Prospective Study in South Africa.J Nutr. 2016 07; 146(7):1394-401.JN
Height and adiposity track over childhood, but few studies, to our knowledge, have longitudinally examined the mediating relation of the timing and progression of puberty.
We assessed interrelations between prepubertal height and body mass index, the progression through puberty, and young adult height and adiposity.
We analyzed data from the Birth to Twenty Plus study (females, n = 823; males, n = 765). Serial measures of anthropometry and pubertal development were obtained between ages 9 and 16 y. We used latent class growth analysis to categorize pubertal development with respect to pubic hair (females and males), breasts (females), and genitalia (males) development. Adult height and weight were obtained at ages 18 to 20 y.
Among females, higher latent class (earlier initiation and faster progression through puberty) was associated with an increased risk of obesity [pubic hair class 3 compared with class 1: RR, 3.41 (95% CI: 1.57, 7.44)] and inconsistent associations with height. Among males, higher latent class was associated with increased adult height [pubic hair development class 3 compared with class 1: 2.43 cm (95% CI: 0.88, 4.00)] and increased risk of overweight/obesity [pubic hair development class 3 compared with class 1: OR, 3.44 (95% CI: 1.44, 8.20)]. In females, the association with adult height became inverse after adjusting for prepubertal height [pubic hair development class 3 compared with class 1: females, -1.31 cm (95% CI: -2.32, -0.31)]; in males, the association with height was attenuated with this adjustment [-0.56 cm (95% CI: -1.63, 0.52)]. Associations with adiposity were attenuated after adjusting for prepubertal adiposity.
Progression through puberty modifies the relation between prepubertal and adult anthropometry. Screening for early or rapid progression of puberty might identify children at an increased risk of becoming overweight or obese adults.