The goal of this study was to investigate growth outcomes in term infants with weight faltering.


Conditional weight gain was calculated on term infants from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Cases of weight faltering were infants with a conditional weight gain below the fifth centile. Outcome growth measurements included weight and length/height (from 9 months to 13 years), BMI, mid-arm circumference, and waist circumference (at 7, 10, and 13 years).


Weight data were available on 11 499 infants; 507 had “early” weight faltering (before 8 weeks), and 480 had “late” weight faltering (between 8 weeks and 9 months). The early group showed enhanced weight gain from 8 weeks until 2 years, then gained weight at the same rate as the controls. Gain in height was proportionally slower than gain in weight through childhood. By 13 years, they had BMI, mid-arm circumference, and waist circumference similar to the controls. The late group showed steady weight gain throughout childhood; enhanced weight gain compared with the controls only occurred between 7 and 10 years. Gain in height was proportional to gain in weight. This group remained considerably lighter and shorter than the controls up to the age of 13 years.


Children with weight faltering before 8 weeks showed a different pattern of “catch-up” to those with weight faltering later in infancy. By 13 years, the anthropometric profile of the 2 groups was within population norms.

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