Early-life stress and current stress predict BMI and height growth trajectories in puberty

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Abstract

In cross-sectional analyses, early institutional care is associated with shorter stature but not obesity during puberty in children adopted into US families. We examined whether shorter stature and leaner body composition in youth adopted internationally from institutions would continue as puberty progressed. We also examined whether current psychosocial stress would moderate the association between early institutional deprivation and growth during adolescence. Using an accelerated longitudinal design and linear mixed-effects models, we examined the height and body mass index (BMI) of 132 previously institutionalized (PI) and 176 nonadopted (NA) youth. We examined youth aged 7–15 at the beginning of the study three times across 2 years. Nurses assessed anthropometrics and pubertal status. Current psychosocial stress was measured using the Youth Life Stress Interview. Our results indicated that PI youth remained shorter and leaner across three assessments than NA youth. However, age-and-sex-adjusted BMI increased faster in PI youth. Psychosocial stress during puberty predicted greater age-and-sex-adjusted BMI, but this effect did not differ by group. The gap in BMI but not height appears to close between PI and NA youth. Higher psychosocial stress was associated with higher BMI during puberty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere22342
JournalDevelopmental psychobiology
Volume64
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to express our gratitude to the families that make our research possible, the Minnesota International Adoption Project, and the Center for Neurobehavioral Development at the University of Minnesota. We also thank Tori Simenec, Bao Moua, Lea Neumann, and Heather Taylor for their assistance with the study; our nurses Janet Goodwalt, Terri Jones, and Melissa Stoll for Tanner staging; and Dr. Lorah Dorn for providing training in pubertal assessment. This study was funded by a grant R01 HD075349 (to MG) from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of the National Institute of health (NIH) and supported in part by the Center for Neurobehavioral Development, University of Minnesota. This work was also supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number T32HD101392 (fellow: Dr. BM Reid). The content is solely the authors' responsibility and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Developmental Psychobiology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.

Keywords

  • BMI
  • early-life stress
  • growth
  • height
  • puberty

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