Our objective was to examine tracking patterns of body mass index (BMI) as well as their predictors between childhood and adolescence. A cohort of 452 Tunisian children aged 13 - 15 years was followed for 4 years (1999 - 2003). Tracking of BMI was defined as in individual maintaining a certain status or relative position (relative BMI quartile) overtime. After 4 years, almost 50% of the subjects had maintained their relative positions, but 25% had moved into a lower or higher quartile. The BMIs of thin and fat were more likely to track: 61.9 and 66.7% remained in the bottom and upper quartiles, respectively. Overweight children were 2.6 times as likely as all other children to become overweight adolescents. Individual’s initial BMIs, sex and socioeconomic status helped to predict tracking and change in BMI. Predictors of overweight tracking found in this study would be useful to select children at risk for preventive intervention.
Key words: Obesity, adolescents, cardiovascular risk factor.
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