Childhood weight gain and thyroid autoimmunity at age 60-64 years: the 1946 British birth cohort study.
The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism 2013 ; 98: 1435-42.
DOI : 10.1210/jc.2012-3761
PubMed ID : 23436917
PMCID : PMC3651609
Complex bidirectional relationships have been described between body weight, thyroid function, and risk of thyroid disorders, including thyroid autoimmunity. We used a life-course approach to examine the potential association of childhood or adult body weight with the risk of thyroid autoimmunity and other thyroid disorders at age 60-64 years in a large population-based birth cohort study.
In the UK Medical Research Council 1946 British Birth Cohort study, at age 60-64 years, 1277 women and 1185 men (78% of the target sample) responded to a postal questionnaire, which included questions on thyroid disease and thyroid medication. Circulating antithyroid peroxidase antibodies, free T4, and TSH concentrations were measured in 1057 women and 997 men at a subsequent clinic visit. Birth weight was recorded, and height and weight were measured at ages 2, 4, 6, 7, 11, 15 years and also repeatedly in adulthood.
At age 60-64 years, 10.9% of women (139 of 1277) and 2.3% of men (27 of 1185) reported they were taking T4, and 11.5% of women (122 of 1057) and 3.3% of men (33 of 997) had positive anti-TPO antibodies (>100 IU/mL), consistent with thyroid autoimmunity. Among women, both T4 use and positive anti-TPO antibodies at age 60-64 years were positively associated with childhood body weight, childhood overweight, and adult body mass index. Childhood weight gain between 0 and 14 years of age was positively associated with later T4 use (odds ratio 1.21, 95% confidence interval 1.03-1.42) and positive anti-TPO antibodies (1.21, 1.00-1.47). Women who were overweight or obese at age 14 years (127 of 972) had a higher risk of later positive anti-TPO antibodies (2.05, 1.12-3.76). In men and women without any thyroid disorders, serum free T4 concentrations were inversely associated with concurrent body mass index (P = .002).
Childhood weight gain and childhood overweight conferred an increased susceptibility to later hypothyroidism and thyroid autoimmunity, particularly in women.