Catch-up growth, metabolic, and cardiovascular risk in post-institutionalized Romanian adolescents

Alva Tang, Natalie Slopen, Charles A. Nelson, Charles H. Zeanah, Michael K. Georgieff, Nathan A. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Reduced prenatal growth followed by rapid postnatal weight gain are risk factors for developing metabolic and cardiovascular disease. Children reared in institutions experience a similar pattern of growth restriction followed by catch-up growth after removal. We explored whether patterns of catch-up growth affect metabolic and cardiovascular outcomes in previously institutionalized adolescents. Method: A longitudinal study of institutionalized infants randomized to care as usual (n = 68) or foster care intervention (n = 68), and never institutionalized controls (n = 127). Body mass index (BMI) was measured at baseline (20 months), 30, 42 months, and ages 8, 12, 16. At age 16, metabolic and pro-inflammatory markers were derived from blood samples. Results: Four BMI trajectories were derived (i.e., average-stable, low-stable, elevated, and accelerated). The accelerated trajectory was comprised predominately of children randomized to foster care, who also exhibited higher levels of glycosylated hemoglobin and C-reactive protein than the other three trajectories. Also, children placed in foster care at younger ages were more likely to be on the accelerated rather than the average-stable trajectory. Conclusions: Although catch-up growth is viewed as a positive improvement among post-institutionalized children, rapid/continuous increases in body size pose a health concern. Attention should be given to monitoring weight gain, diet, and physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)842-848
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, International Pediatric Research Foundation, Inc.


Dive into the research topics of 'Catch-up growth, metabolic, and cardiovascular risk in post-institutionalized Romanian adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this