Birth weight is inversely associated with central adipose tissue in healthy children and adolescents

Meredith S. Dolan, John D. Sorkin, Daniel J. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Objective: Previous studies have explored the association between birth weight and excess childhood body fat, but few have used precise measures of body composition, leading to equivocal and sometimes contradictory results. Research Methods and Procedures: Subjects included 101 children who underwent DXA measurements between 1995 and 2000. Birth weight and gestational age were assessed using maternal recall. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to determine the relationship between birth weight and the following four outcome variables: total fat mass (FM), truncal fat mass (TrFM), percentage body fat (%BF), and TrFM adjusted for FM (TrFMadj), controlling for current weight and Tanner stage. Results: The mean age of the children studied was 12.9 ± 2.4 years, and the mean birth weight reported by subjects' mothers was 3.3 ± 0.5 kg. The FM and TrFM were 12.8 ± 8.7 kg and 5.1 ± 4.1 kg, respectively, and the mean %BF was 22.9 ± 10.3%. Birth weight was a significant predictor of FM (p = 0.02) and %BF (p = 0.038). However, birth weight adjusted for gestational age (BWTadj) was a significant (p = 0.03) negative predictor of TrFMadj, independently of race, sex, Tanner stage, and current weight. Discussion: These results provide evidence that, even in childhood and adolescence, a higher birth weight is associated with higher FM and %BF, while a low birth weight is associated with TrFM, adjusted for FM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1600-1608
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Birth weight
  • Body composition
  • DXA
  • Fat mass
  • Pediatrics


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