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Obesity at Age 10 Linked to Earlier Puberty in Boys

And earlier puberty is associated with greater likelihood of central adiposity in young adulthood

MONDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Body mass index (BMI) in 10-year-old boys is a significant predictor of age at puberty, with each unit increase in BMI linked to a 6-week reduction in the age of peak height velocity, researchers report in the November issue of Diabetes. In addition, an early puberty is associated with a central fat distribution in young adulthood.

Jenny M. Kindblom, and colleagues from Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University in Sweden, estimated the age at peak height velocity and BMI at 10 years of age for 579 men based on detailed growth charts from birth to 18-20 years of age. Age at peak height velocity was used as an estimate of pubertal timing. Fat mass and its distribution were measured at about 19 years of age.

The researchers found that BMI at 10 years old predicted age at peak height velocity, which was an independent negative predictor of whole-body fat mass and young adult BMI. A high BMI at 10 years of age was also a positive predictor of central and peripheral subcutaneous fat mass, while an earlier age at peak height velocity was a predictor of only central fat mass.

"In conclusion, we demonstrate that early pubertal onset specifically predicts a central fat mass distribution, while a predominantly subcutaneous obese phenotype is strongly predicted by a high prepubertal BMI," Kindblom and colleagues write.

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