Longitudinal body mass index trajectories at preschool age: children with rapid growth have differential composition of the gut microbiota in the first year of life Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Abstract Background/Objective The steep rise in childhood obesity has emerged as a worldwide public health problem. The first 4 years of life are a critical window where long-term developmental patterns of body mass index (BMI) are established and a critical period for microbiota maturation. Understanding how the early-life microbiota relate to preschool growth may be useful for identifying preventive interventions for childhood obesity. We aim to investigate whether longitudinal shifts within the bacterial community between 3 months and 1 year of life are associated with preschool BMI z-score trajectories. Methods BMI trajectories from birth to 5 years of age were identified using group-based trajectory modeling in 3059 children. Their association with familial and environmental factors were analyzed. Infant gut microbiota at 3 months and 1 year was defined by 16S RNA sequencing and changes in diversity and composition within each BMIz trajectory were analyzed. Results Four BMIz trajectories were identified: low stable, normative, high stable, and rapid growth. Infants in the rapid growth trajectory were less likely to have been breastfed, and gained less microbiota diversity in the first year of life. Relative abundance of Akkermansia increased with age in children with stable growth, but decreased in those with rapid growth, abundance of Ruminococcus and Clostridium at 1 year were elevated in children with rapid growth. Children who were breastfed at 6 months had increased levels of Sutterella, and decreased levels of Ruminococcus and Clostridium. Conclusion This study provides new insights into the relationship between the gut microbiota in infancy and patterns of growth in a cohort of preschool Canadian children. We highlight that rapid growth since birth is associated with bacteria shown in animal models to have a causative role in weight gain. Our findings support a novel avenue of research targeted on tangible interventions to reduce childhood obesity.


  • Reyna, Myrtha E
  • Petersen, Charisse
  • Dai, Darlene LY
  • Dai, Ruixue
  • Becker, Allan B
  • Azad, Meghan B
  • Miliku, Kozeta
  • Lefebvre, Diana L
  • Moraes, Theo J
  • Mandhane, Piushkumar J
  • Boutin, Rozlyn CT
  • Finlay, B Brett
  • Simons, Elinor
  • Kozyrskyj, Anita L
  • Lou, Wendy
  • Turvey, Stuart E
  • Subbarao, Padmaja

publication date

  • July 2022