The global increase in the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity and their associations with disease during childhood and adulthood is now alarming public health officials. One approach to understanding the pathways between overweight/ obesity and disease is identifying the factors that cause excess weight gain. The time in utero is considered a critical period. During the growth and development years, the periods known as 'adiposity rebound' and adolescence are considered critical periods in the development and persistence of overweight in the pediatric age group. Children born small or large for gestational age appear to be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes in adulthood. To what extent the growth trajectory between birth and adulthood influences the risk of disease burden is unclear. Important questions that need to be answered include the role that adiposity or fat accretion and adipose tissue distribution has on the development of disease. To answer such questions, the measurement of body composition needs to occur at the organ/tissue level beginning as early as birth, if not earlier. The current MRI methodology allows for such measurements after birth although no data exists thus far where infants have been followed longitudinally into adolescence or adulthood.
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