Kuzawa, Christopher W., Hallal, Pedro C., Adair, Linda, Bhargava, Santosh K., Fall, Caroline H. D., Lee, Nanette, Norris, Shane A., Osmond, Clive, Ramirez-Zea, Manual, Sachdev, Harshpal Singh, Stein, Aryeh D. and Victora, Cesar G.
Birth weight, postnatal weight gain, and adult body composition in five low and middle income countries.
American Journal of Human Biology, 24, (1), . (doi:10.1002/ajhb.21227). (PMID:22121058).
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Objectives: To evaluate the associations between birth weight (BW), infancy, and childhood weight gain and adult
Methods: Subjects included participants of five birth cohort studies from low and middle income nations (Brazil,
Guatemala, India, Philippines, and South Africa; n 5 3432). We modeled adult body composition as a function of BW
and conditional weight gain (CW), representing changes in weight trajectory relative to peers, in three age intervals (0–
12 months, 12–24 months, 24 months-mid childhood).
Results: In 34 of 36 site- and sex-specific models, regression coefficients associated with BW and CWs were higher
for adult fat-free than for fat mass. The strength of coefficients predicting fat-free mass relative to those predicting fat
mass was greatest for BW, intermediate for CWs through 24 months, and weaker thereafter. However, because fat
masses were smaller and showed larger variances than fat-free masses, weaker relationships with fat mass still yielded
modest but significant increases in adult % body fat (PBF). CWat 12 months and mid-childhood tended to be the strongest
predictors of PBF, whereas BW was generally the weakest predictor of PBF. For most early growth measures, a 1
SD change predicted less than a 1% change in adult body fat, suggesting that any health impacts of early growth on
changes in adult body composition are likely to be small in these cohorts.
Conclusions: BW and weight trajectories up to 24 months tend to be more strongly associated with adult fat-free
mass than with fat mass, while weight trajectories in mid-childhood predict both fat mass and fat-free mass.
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