Birth Weight was Favorably Associated With Physical Fitness in Childhood After Adjustment for Several Perinatal Factors

Konstantinos D. Tambalis, Stamatis Mourtakos, Labros S. Sidossis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose was to examine the potential associations of birth weight and infant growth with physical fitness (PF) components in childhood. Method: A random sample of 5125 dyads of children aged 8-9 years and their mothers were evaluated. Telephone interviews were carried out with the use of a standardized questionnaire for the collection of maternal lifestyle factors. Mothers were asked to provide information contained in their medical booklets and pregnancy ultrasound records. Data from 5 PF tests were used to assess cardiorespiratory fitness, speed, and body strength. Linear regression analysis was applied to assess the associations between birth weight and infant growth with PF test performances and logistic regression analysis to evaluate the associations of normal weight versus low birth weight and normal versus accelerated infant growth with PF tests performance categories (low vs high/average). Results: Birth weight was favorably associated with cardiorespiratory fitness (b = 0.12 stage increase per SD increase in birth weight, P = .047), lower body strength (b = 1.07, P = .037), upper body strength (b = 0.10, P = .038), and speed (b = -0.04, P = .001), and infant growth was associated with upper body strength (b = 0.21 cm increase per SD increase in infant weight gain, P < .001) after adjusting for children's body mass index and several perinatal factors. Low birth weight children had 35% increased odds for low performances in PF tests compared with their normal birth weight counterparts. Conclusion: Low birth weight negatively affects childhood PF, and hence, it could play an unfavorable role in the future health of the offspring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-19
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


  • aerobic fitness
  • children
  • infant growth


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