(HealthDay News) — Two trajectories of growth correlate with development of type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Johan G. Eriksson, MD, DMSc, from the University of Helsinki in Finland, and colleagues examined trajectories of childhood growth associated with type 2 diabetes. 

Data were included for 13,345 individuals born in Helsinki between 1934 and 1944. Childhood growth had been recorded in detail; 11.7% of participants were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The researchers identified two pathways of growth in association with type 2 diabetes, both of which started with low weight and BMI at birth. 

In one, low BMI persisted through infancy and was followed by a rapid increase during childhood. For individuals with a BMI above the median value at 11 years, the odds ratio was 1.31 for type 2 diabetes associated with a one z-score increase in BMI between 2 and 11 years. 

The second pathway exhibited low BMI and short length at birth, with low BMI persisting through childhood. This trajectory was seen for most women who developed type 2 diabetes; compared with women with a BMI above the median at age 11, they developed type 2 diabetes at a lower BMI and lower fat percentage.

“Because there are different early triggers to the development of type 2 diabetes, there are several windows of opportunity for the prevention of the disease during early life,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Eriksson JG et al. J Intern Med. 2015;278(2):219-226.