Letters to the Editor
March 1999

Is a Large Body Size During Childhood a Risk Factor for Later Aggression?

Author Affiliations

Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1999;56(3):283-284. doi:

In a recent issue of the ARCHIVES, Raine et al1 presented evidence that a large body size at the age of 3 years, though not at age 11, predicts aggression at age 11 years. We evaluated this issue by accessing our large population-based database, the Northern Finland Birth Cohort of 1966,2 in which the data of biological, socioeconomic, environmental, and health conditions have been collected prospectively from prior to birth up to 31 years of age. The relevant data on violent crimes were collected from all cohort members from files maintained by Finland's Ministry of Justice for those between 15 and 26 years of age. Homicide, assault, robbery, arson, or violation of domestic peace were considered to be violent crimes.3 Then, by using the height and weight measurements of each child at birth, 6 months, 1 year, and 14 years of age, we tried to discern more precisely the critical period in the child's development where the previously reported association between body size and aggression could be detected.1

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