Associations of weight and body composition at birth with body composition and cardiometabolic markers in children aged 10 y: the Ethiopian infant anthropometry and body composition birth cohort study

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Background: Although birth weight (BW) has been associated with later cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, the role of birth fat mass (BFM) and birth fat-free mass (BFFM) on cardiometabolic health is unclear.

Objective: To examine associations of BW, BFM, and BFFM with later anthropometry, body composition, abdominal fat, and cardiometabolic markers.

Methods: Birth cohort data on standardized exposure variables (BW, BFM, and BFFM) and follow-up information at age 10 y on anthropometry, body composition, abdominal fat, and cardiometabolic markers were included. A linear regression analysis was used to assess associations of exposures with outcome variables, adjusting for maternal and child characteristics at birth and current body size in separate models.

Results: Among 353 children, mean (SD) age was 9.8 (1.0) years, and 51.5% were boys. In the fully adjusted model, 1-SD higher BW and BFFM were associated with 0.81 (95%CI: 0.21, 1.41) and 1.25 (95%CI: 0.64, 1.85) cm greater height at 10 y, respectively. The 1-SD higher BW and BFM were associated with 0.32 kg/m2 (95%CI: 0.14, 0.51 kg/m2) and 0.42 kg/m2 (95%CI: 0.25, 0.59 kg/m2) greater fat mass index at 10 y, respectively. In addition, 1-SD higher BW and BFFM were associated with 0.22 kg/m2 (95% CI: 0.09, 0.34 kg/m2) greater FFM index, whereas a 1-SD greater BFM was associated with a 0.05 cm greater subcutaneous adipose tissue (95% CI: 0.01, 0.11 cm). Furthermore, 1-SD higher BW and BFFM were associated with 10.3% (95% CI: 1.4%, 20.0%) and 8.3% (95% CI: -0.5%, 17.9%) greater insulin, respectively. Similarly, 1-SD higher BW and BFFM were associated with 10.0% (95% CI: 0.9%, 20.0%) and 8.5% (95% CI: -0.6%, 18.5%) greater homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, respectively.

Conclusions: BW and BFFM rather than BFM are predictors of height and FFM index at 10 y. Children with higher BW and BFFM showed higher insulin concentrations and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance at 10 y  of age. 

This trial was registered at ISRCTN as ISRCTN46718296.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)412-421
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Birth weight, Birth fat mass, Birth fat-free mass, Air displacement plethysmograph, Abdominal fat, Cardiometabolic markers, Children, Cohort study, Ethiopia

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