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Birth weight and muscle strength: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Dodds, R., Denison, H.J., Ntani, G., Cooper, R., Cooper, C., Sayer, A.A. and Baird, Janis (2012) Birth weight and muscle strength: a systematic review and meta-analysis The Journal of Nutrition Health & Aging, 16, (7), pp. 609-615. (doi:10.1007/s12603-012-0053-9). (PMID:22836701).

Record type: Article


Objective: Lower muscle strength is associated with a range of adverse health outcomes in later life. The variation in muscle strength between individuals is only partly accounted for by factors in adult life such as body size and physical activity. The aim of this review was to assess the strength of the association between intrauterine development (indicated by birth weight) and subsequent muscle strength.

Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that assessed the association between birth weight and subsequent muscle strength.

Results: Nineteen studies met inclusion criteria with 17 studies showing that higher birth weight was associated with greater muscle strength. Grip strength was used as a single measure of muscle strength in 15 studies. Meta-analysis (13 studies, 20 481 participants, mean ages 9.3 to 67.5) showed a 0.86 kg (95% CI 0.58, 1.15) increase in muscle strength per additional kilogram of birth weight, after adjustment for age, gender and height at the time of strength measurement.

Conclusion: This review has found consistent evidence of a positive association between birth weight and muscle strength which is maintained across the lifecourse. Future work will be needed to elucidate the biological mechanisms underlying this association, but it suggests the potential benefit of an early intervention to help people maintain muscle strength in later life.

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More information

Published date: July 2012
Keywords: birth weight, muscle strength, sarcopenia, muscle development, developmental origins of health and disease hypothesis
Organisations: Faculty of Medicine


Local EPrints ID: 343052
ISSN: 1279-7707
PURE UUID: 8cb2a6dd-da43-4423-b06c-d017f66c121d
ORCID for R. Dodds: ORCID iD
ORCID for C. Cooper: ORCID iD
ORCID for Janis Baird: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 24 Sep 2012 09:26
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 05:25

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Author: R. Dodds ORCID iD
Author: H.J. Denison
Author: G. Ntani
Author: R. Cooper
Author: C. Cooper ORCID iD
Author: A.A. Sayer
Author: Janis Baird ORCID iD

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