Heights and weights were measured in 963 10-year-old children, whose weight data from the first year of life were available. Rapid weight gain in infancy was arbitrarily defined on the basis of sex-specific percentiles of weight gain at four-month intervals and from birth to 12 months. In girls, no significant association between rapid weight gain in infancy and overweight at 10 1/2 years was found. In boys, the association was significant for severe overweight (greater than 120% of standard weight for height). An estimation of the possible benefit of an intervention programme (food restriction in all male infants with rapid weight gain) showed, however, that at the very best 12% of the boys treated in this way could be expected to gain some benefit. The result of a correlation analysis between weight gain in infancy and change in height and relative weight between 7 and 10 1/2 years suggested that the factors which determined weight gain in infancy were no longer operative at ages between 7 and 10 1/2 years.
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