Association of childhood adiposity measures with adulthood knee cartilage defects and bone marrow lesions: a 25-year cohort study.
Meng T., Thayer S., Venn A., Wu F., Cicuttini F., March L., Dwyer T., Halliday A., Cross M., Laslett LL., Jones G., Ding C., Antony B.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the associations between childhood adiposity measures and adulthood knee cartilage defects and bone marrow lesions (BMLs) measured 25 years later. METHODS: 327 participants from the Australian Schools Health and Fitness Survey (ASHFS) of 1985 (aged 7-15 years) were followed up 25 years later (aged 31-41 years). Childhood measures (weight, height and skinfolds) were collected in 1985. Body mass index (BMI), overweight status and fat mass were calculated. Participants underwent 1.5 T knee magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) during 2008-2010, and cartilage defects and BMLs were scored from knee MRI scans. Log binomial regressions were used to examine the associations. RESULTS: Among 327 participants (47.1% females), 21 (6.4%) were overweight in childhood. Childhood adiposity measures were associated with the increased risk of adulthood patellar cartilage defects (Weight relative risk (RR) 1.05/kg, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01-1.09; BMI 1.10/kg/m2, 1.01-1.19; Overweight 2.22/yes, 1.21-4.08; fat mass 1.11/kg, 1.01-1.22), but not tibiofemoral cartilage defects. Childhood adiposity measures were not significantly associated with adulthood knee BMLs except for the association between childhood overweight status and adulthood patellar BMLs (RR 2.87/yes, 95% CI 1.10-7.53). These significant associations persisted after adjustment for corresponding adulthood adiposity measure. CONCLUSION: Childhood adiposity measures were associated with the increased risk of adulthood patellar cartilage defects and, to a lesser extent, BMLs, independent of adulthood adiposity measures. These results suggest that adiposity in childhood has long-term effects on patellar structural abnormalities in young adults.