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Birth Weight, Adult Body Fat Composition, and Subcutaneous Fat Distribution
Study of Body Fat Distribution in Adulthood and Weight at Birth
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Birth Weight & Adult Fat Study

Birth Weight, Adult Body Composition, and Subcutaneous Fat Distribution

Weight & Fat Study - Aim
To investigate if birth weight is related to both body mass index (BMI) and distribution of subcutaneous fat at adult age.

Weight & Fat Study - Research Methods
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 waist-to-hip ratio and the cross-sectional area of the left thigh were calculated with the available data.

Weight & Fat Study - Results
The adjusted model showed that in women, birth weight was significantly negatively related to adult S4S, waist circumference and SS/S4S ratio. In men, a significant negative association was observed between birth weight and adult waist-to-hip ratio 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.

Weight & Fat Study - Issues
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.

Source: VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam 2003

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