University of Oulu

Kivelä, M., Paananen, M., Kajantie, E., Ojaniemi, M., Nedelec, R., Rusanen, H., Miettunen, J., & Rissanen, I. (2022). Early childhood growth and risk of adult cerebrovascular disease: The nfbc1966. Stroke, 53(6), 1954–1963.

Early childhood growth and risk of adult cerebrovascular disease : the NFBC1966

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Author: Kivelä, Milja1,2; Paananen, Markus1,2; Kajantie, Eero2,3,4,5;
Organizations: 1Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Finland
2Medical Research Center, University of Oulu, Finland
3PEDEGO Research Unit, University of Oulu, Finland
4Population Health Unit, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland
5Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
6Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Wolters Kluwer, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-02-02


Background: Low birth weight is associated with an increased risk of adulthood cerebrovascular disease (CVD). Not much is known about effects of early childhood growth. We studied whether the risk of adult CVD is associated with growth or nutritional factors during early childhood.

Methods: Within the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966, 11 991 persons were followed from birth to 52 years of age. CVD diagnoses were extracted from national hospital and death registers with diagnostic coding based on the World Health Organization recommendations. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate associations of childhood growth variables, growth trajectories (by Latent Class Growth Modeling), and nutritional factors with adult CVD, for example, ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. The analyses were adjusted for childhood socioeconomic status and birth weight.

Results: A total of 453 (3.8%) CVDs were recorded during follow-up. Among females, groups with low early childhood weight and height had an increased risk for adulthood ischemic CVDs, with an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.97 (95% CI, 1.21–3.20) and 2.05 (CI, 1.11–3.81), respectively. In addition, females with body mass index over 1 SD at body mass index rebound had an increased risk for ischemic CVDs (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.90 [CI, 1.19–3.04]) compared with females with body mass index −1 to +1 SD. These associations were not found among males.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that timing of weight gain during childhood is of significance for development of CVD risk among females.

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Series: Stroke
ISSN: 0039-2499
ISSN-E: 1524-4628
ISSN-L: 0039-2499
Volume: 53
Issue: 6
Pages: 1954 - 1963
DOI: 10.1161/strokeaha.121.035640
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3112 Neurosciences
Funding: NFBC1966 (Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966) received financial support from University of Oulu (65354,24000692); Oulu University Hospital (2/97,8/97,24301140); Ministry of Health and Social Affairs (23/251/97 160/97 190/97); National Institute for Health and Welfare (54 121); and European Regional Development Fund (539/2010, A31592). This work was supported by Orion Research Foundation, Maire Taponen foundation, Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation, Paavo Ilmari Ahvenainen Foundation, Finnish-Norwegian Medical foundation. The funders had no role in study design, data collection, and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the article.
Copyright information: © 2022 American Heart Association, Inc. Version of record available at