The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Are infant size and growth related to burden of disease in adulthood? A systematic review of literature

Fisher, David, Baird, Janis, Payne, Liz, Lucas, Patricia, Kleijnen, Jos, Roberts, Helen and Law, Catherine (2006) Are infant size and growth related to burden of disease in adulthood? A systematic review of literature International Journal of Epidemiology, 35, (5), pp. 1196-1210. (doi:10.1093/ije/dyl130). (PMID:16845132).

Record type: Article


Background: Slower rates of infant growth are associated with increased rates of death from ischaemic heart disease (IHD) in later life. We carried out a systematic review to assess the association between infant size or growth and leading causes of adult burden of disease to contribute to the debate on the potential of the promotion of infant growth to prevent ischaemic heart disease.

Methods: We searched Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and bibliographies of included studies. First authors of included studies and other experts were contacted to locate unpublished analyses. Outcome measures for the review were leading causes of adult burden of disease selected from the Global Burden of Disease study. We included studies that assessed the relationship between infant size or growth during the first 2 years and the leading causes of adult burden of disease.

Results: Nineteen studies relating to 10 causes of burden of disease met inclusion criteria. Most studies reported data on infant size. Larger size in infancy was associated with increased risk of insulin-dependent diabetes. Larger infant size was associated with reduced rates of IHD in men but not in women. There were considerable gaps in the evidence and many conditions that account for a high burden of disease, such as cancer, mental illness, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and non-insulin-dependent diabetes, had few or no studies associating them with infant size or growth.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that there is no single optimal pattern of infant growth that is associated with beneficial adult health outcomes. There is insufficient evidence to recommend prevention of adult disease through strategies to alter infant growth.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: 2006
Keywords: infant, growth, adult, chronic disease


Local EPrints ID: 44164
ISSN: 0300-5771
PURE UUID: 7f58db1c-f2a8-4e46-8ce5-82f8e2458209
ORCID for Janis Baird: ORCID iD
ORCID for Liz Payne: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 Feb 2007
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 15:15

Export record



Author: David Fisher
Author: Janis Baird ORCID iD
Author: Liz Payne ORCID iD
Author: Patricia Lucas
Author: Jos Kleijnen
Author: Helen Roberts
Author: Catherine Law

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.