Birth Weight, Adult Body Composition, and Subcutaneous Fat Distribution
Version of Record online: 6 SEP 2012
2003 North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO)
Volume 11, Issue 2, pages 202–208, February 2003
How to Cite
te Velde, S. J., Twisk, J. W.R., van Mechelen, W. and Kemper, H. C.G. (2003), Birth Weight, Adult Body Composition, and Subcutaneous Fat Distribution. Obesity Research, 11: 202–208. doi: 10.1038/oby.2003.32
- Issue online: 6 SEP 2012
- Version of Record online: 6 SEP 2012
- Received for review June 18, 2002; Accepted in final form September 03, 2002
- fetal origins;
- birth weight;
- body composition;
- body fat distribution;
- longitudinal research
Objectives: To investigate if birth weight is related to both body mass index (BMI) and distribution of subcutaneous fat at adult age.
Research Methods and Procedures: A 9-year longitudinal study was performed in 229 subjects (192 women) with ages ranging from 27 to 36 years. Birth weight was retrieved by a questionnaire, and adult weight, height, skinfold thicknesses, and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) were repeatedly measured at mean ages 27, 29, 31, and 36 years. BMI, sum of four skinfolds (S4S), the ratio between two truncal skinfolds and S4S (SS/S4S), and the ratio between WHR and the cross-sectional area of the left thigh were calculated with the available data.
Results: The adjusted model showed that in women, birth weight was significantly negatively related to adult S4S [β = −5.211; (−9.768 to −0.654)], waist circumference [β = −1.449; (−2.829 to −0.069)], and SS/S4S ratio [β = −3.579; (−5.296 to −1.862)]. In men, a significant negative association was observed between birth weight and adult WHR [β = −1.096; (−2.092 to −0.100)] only. Other relationships showed, although not significantly, the same negative trend, namely that lower birth weight is related to higher adult body fat mass (S4S) and a more truncal subcutaneous fat distribution (SS/S4S). No associations were found between birth weight and either adult BMI or the cross-sectional area of the thigh.
Discussion: Lower birth weight is, in both adult men and women, related to a higher adult subcutaneous fat mass and a more truncal distribution of subcutaneous fat, indicating a higher risk for obesity.