Thin newborns are more insulin resistant at 10 years of age


Anni Larnkjær, Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 30, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark. Tel: +45 3533 3548 | Fax: +45 3533 2469 |


Aims:  To investigate the relation between ponderal index or birth weight and insulin resistance in late childhood.

Methods:  An observational study of 92-term appropriate-for-gestational age infants was carried out. Weight and length were measured at birth and at 9 months and duration of breast feeding was noted at 9 months. Follow-up examinations at 10 years of age included measurement of weight, height, pubertal status, fasting insulin and glucose concentrations.

Results:  Ponderal index at birth was negatively (B ± SE = −0.05 ± 0.02; p = 0.025) and current BMI was positively (B ± SE = 0.14 ± 0.02; p < 0.001) associated with insulin resistance measured as homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) at 10 years of age adjusted for gender and pubertal stage. Current BMI and ponderal index at birth were still significant after adjusting for weight at 9 months. Birth weight and weight at 9 months was not correlated with HOMA (p = 0.58) adjusted for current BMI, gender and pubertal stage. HOMA was higher in the tertile with the lowest ponderal index than in the two remaining tertiles (p = 0.024).

Conclusion:  Relative thinness at birth, but neither birth weight nor weight gain from 0–9 months, was associated with higher insulin resistance at 10 years of age in this cohort with a low prevalence of overweight at 10 years of age and normal birth weight.