2018 Volume 28 Issue 5 Pages 237-244
Background: The body mass index (BMI) of preschool children from 4 years of age through primary school has increased since the Great East Japan Earthquake, but that of children aged under 3 years has not been studied. This study evaluated how the anthropometrics of younger children changed following the earthquake.
Methods: Height and weight data of children living in northeast Japan were collected from 3-, 6-, 18-, and 42-month child health examinations. We compared the changes in BMI, weight, and height among infants affected by the earthquake between their 3- and 6-month health examinations, toddlers affected at 21–30 months of age (affected groups), and children who experienced the earthquake after their 42-month child health examination (unaffected group). A multilevel model was used to calculate the BMI at corresponding ages and to adjust for the actual age at the 3-month health examination, health examination interval, and gestational age.
Results: We recruited 8,479 boys and 8,218 girls living in Fukushima, Miyagi, and Iwate Prefectures. In the infants affected between their 3- and 6-month health examinations in Fukushima, the change in BMI at 42 months of age was greater than among the unaffected children. In the toddlers affected at 21–30 months of age in Fukushima, the change in BMI was greater, but changes in weight and height were less.
Conclusions: Affected infants and toddlers in Fukushima suggested some growth disturbances and early adiposity rebound, which can cause obesity. The future growth of children affected by disasters should be followed carefully.