Birth Weight and Long-Term Overweight Risk: Systematic Review and a Meta-Analysis Including 643,902 Persons from 66 Studies and 26 Countries Globally

Plosone: October 17, 2012

Overweight is among the major challenging health risk factors. It has been claimed that birth weight, being a critical indicator of prenatal developmental conditions, is related to long-term overweight risk. In order to check this important assumption of developmental and preventive medicine, we performed a systematic review and comprehensive meta-analysis.

Methods and Findings

Relevant studies published up to January 2011 that investigated the relation between birth weight and later risk of overweight were identified through literature searches using MEDLINE and EMBASE. For meta-analysis, 66 studies from 26 countries and five continents were identified to be eligible, including 643,902 persons aged 1 to 75 years. We constructed random-effects and fixed-effects models, performed subgroup-analyses, influence-analyses, assessed heterogeneity and publication bias, performed meta-regression analysis as well as analysis of confounder adjusted data. Meta-regression revealed a linear positive relationship between birth weight and later overweight risk (p<0.001). Read more