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).


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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.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1007/s12603-012-0053-9
ISSNs: 1279-7707 (print)
Keywords: birth weight, muscle strength, sarcopenia, muscle development, developmental origins of health and disease hypothesis
Organisations: Faculty of Medicine
ePrint ID: 343052
Date :
Date Event
July 2012Published
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2012 09:26
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 16:36
Further Information:Google Scholar

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