Early life body size, growth and risks of systemic lupus erythematosus – A large Danish observational cohort study
Thomas PE., Jensen BW., Sørensen KK., Jacobsen S., Aarestrup J., Baker JL.
© 2020 Elsevier Inc. Objectives: Adult obesity may increase the risks of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and there are genetic links between adult height and SLE. Thus, it is plausible that size earlier in life may be important in the aetiology of SLE as well. We investigated whether birthweight, childhood body mass index (BMI; [kg/m2]), height and growth are associated with risks of adult SLE. Methods: The study included 346,627 children from the Copenhagen School Health Records Register, born 1930-1996 with measured weights and heights from 7-13 years. Birthweight information was available from 1936. Linkages were made to the Danish National Patient Register for information on registrations of SLE. During follow-up, 435 individuals (366 women) were registered with SLE. Cox proportional hazards regressions were performed to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results: No differences by sex were detected in any of the associations. Birthweight was not associated with SLE risks. Childhood BMI and height were positively and linearly associated with SLE risks. For BMI at age 7, the HR was 1.11 (95% CI: 1.01-1.23) per z-score. For height at age 7, the HR was 1.13 (95% CI: 1.02-1.24) per z-score. The estimates were similar in magnitude across all childhood ages for BMI and height. There were limited indications that change in BMI or growth in height during childhood influence the risks of SLE in adulthood. Conclusions: Childhood body size is associated with risks of adult SLE, which supports the hypothesis that early life factors are important in SLE aetiology.