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Open Access Research article

Association of sexual maturation with excess body weight and height in children and adolescents

Jucemar Benedet1*, Adair da Silva Lopes12, Fernando Adami35, Patrícia de Fragas Hinnig34 and Francisco de Assis Guedes de Vasconcelos5

Author Affiliations

1 Programa de Pós-Graduação em Educação Física, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Campus Universitário, Trindade, Santa Catarina 88040900, Florianópolis, Brazil

2 Departamento de Educação Física da Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Campus Universitário, Trindade, Santa Catarina 88040900, Florianópolis, Brazil

3 Departamento de Saúde da Coletividade, Faculdade de Medicina do ABC, Av. Príncipe de Gales, 821, Santo André, SP 09060650, Brazil

4 Departamento de Epidemiologia da Faculdade de Saúde Pública da Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Av. Dr. Arnaldo, 715, Cerqueira César, São Paulo, SP 01246-904, Brazil

5 Departamento de Nutrição da Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Campus Universitário, Trindade, Santa Catarina 88040900, Florianópolis, Brazil

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BMC Pediatrics 2014, 14:72  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-14-72

Published: 13 March 2014

Abstract

Background

Studies addressing the influence of early sexual maturation on the excess of body weight and height of children and adolescents are scarce. The aim of the study was to analyze the association of sexual maturation with excess body weight and height in children and adolescents.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional study performed in Florianópolis city, Brazil, in 2007, with 2339 school children, aged 8–14 years (1107 males). Selection was based on a probabilistic, cluster-stratified sampling technique. School children were classified according to the presence of excess body weight, using sex- and age-specific body mass index (BMI) cutoff points. Z-scores were calculated from height and BMI data. Sexual maturation was self-assessed according to Tanner stages of development. Subjects were ranked based on tertiles of sexual maturation (early, normal and late) for each stage of development. Poisson and linear regression models were used.

Results

Compared to the reference group (normal sexual maturation), early maturing females had higher prevalence of excess weight (adjusted prevalence ratio: 1.70; 95% CI: 1.24 to 2.33) and increased height-for-age (adjusted β: 0.37; 95% CI: 0.14 to 0.59), while late maturing females had lower prevalence of excess weight (adjusted prevalence ratio: 0.57; 95% CI: 0.37 to 0.87) and decreased height-for-age (adjusted β: −0.38; 95% CI: −0.56 to −0.20). In males, early and late sexual maturation were associated with increased (adjusted β: 0.37; 95% CI: 0.14 to 0.59) and decreased (adjusted β: −0.38; 95% CI: −0.56 to −0.20) height-for-age, respectively.

Conclusion

Early sexual maturation is associated with excess body weight in females and with greater height-for-age in both sexes.

Keywords:
Obesity; Puberty; Growth; Child; Adolescent