Morbidity of overweight (≥85th percentile) in the first 2 years of life

Rana Shibli, Lisa Rubin, Hannah Akons, Ron Shaoul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES. Our hypothesis was that morbidity related to overweight/obesity is already evident in infants and young toddlers. The major objectives of this study were (1) to assess the prevalence of overweight in a sample of hospitalized infants and (2) to assess the prevalence of morbidity in overweight infants in a community-based sample. METHODS.The hospital admission study population included 2139 infants, ≤24 months of age, who were admitted for any reason to the pediatric department at the Bnai Zion Medical Center in 2004-2005. For the community-based sample, we identified overweight infants (≥85th weight-for-height percentile in ≥2 measurements, ≥3 months apart), ≤24 months of age, in 8 mother and child health care facilities in the Haifa subdistrict of Israel. Parents of infants were interviewed by using a structured questionnaire. RESULTS.We found that overweight infants (85th to 94th percentiles) had fewer admissions and fewer repeated admissions than expected. Infants of ≥95 th percentile had more admissions than expected, as well as a larger number of repeated admissions. In the second part of the study, we found that rates of developmental delays (mainly delayed gross motor skills) and snoring were significantly higher in infants of ≥85th percentile. In addition, although the results were not statistically significant, infants with overweight suffered more frequently from breathing problems, such as asthma and stridor. When the mothers were asked to assess whether their child was overweight, only 31.6% of mothers of overweight children thought that the child was overweight. CONCLUSIONS. The high admission rates for infants of ≥95th percentile and the high incidence rates of respiratory morbidity, snoring, and delayed gross motor skills in overweight infants support our hypothesis regarding early morbidity associated with overweight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-272
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Complications
  • Infants
  • Morbidity
  • Obesity
  • Toddlers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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