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Longitudinal analysis of growth trajectories in young children of Chinese-born immigrant mothers compared with Australian-born mothers living in Victoria, Australia

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posted on 2021-02-01, 00:00 authored by Kristy BoltonKristy Bolton, Peter Kremer, Rachel LawsRachel Laws, Karen CampbellKaren Campbell, Miaobing ZhengMiaobing Zheng
Background Chinese immigrants are the third largest immigrant group in Australia. Little is known about growth trajectories of their offspring when moving to a Western country. The aim was to describe the growth trajectories between birth to 3.5 years in children of Chinese-born immigrant mothers compared with Australian-born mothers living in Victoria, Australia. Methods Ten nurse measured weights and lengths from birth to 3.5 years were used to examine growth trajectory using linear spline multilevel models. Five knot points were identified at visit 2 (0.5 months), visit 4 (2 months), visit 5 (4.5 months), visit 8 (18 months) and visit 9 (25 months). Results Ethnic disparities in growth trajectories between these two groups were revealed in models adjusted for birth weight, sex and level of socioeconomic disadvantage. Children of Chinese-born compared with Australian-born mothers revealed different growth rates and significant differences in predicted mean body mass index Z score (zBMI) at all time points from birth to 44 months, except for 12 months. Specifically, when compared with children of Australian-born mothers, children of Chinese-born mothers started with lower predicted zBMI from birth until 0.5 months, had a higher zBMI from 1 to 8 months and a lower zBMI from 12 to 44 months. Early and sharp acceleration of growth was also observed for children of Chinese-born mothers (0.5–2 months) when compared with children of Australian-born mothers (2–18 months). Conclusion Differences in growth trajectories exist between young children of Chinese-born and Australian-born mothers. Better understanding of these ethnically patterned growth trajectories is important for identifying key opportunities to promote healthy growth in early life.



BMJ open





Article number



1 - 8


BMJ Publishing Group


London, Eng.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal