Association between birth weight and visceral fat in adults.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2010 ; 92: 347-52.
DOI : 10.3945/ajcn.2010.29247
PubMed ID : 20519560
PMCID : 0
Several studies reported inverse associations between birth weight and central adiposity in adults. However, few studies investigated the contributions of different abdominal fat compartments.
We examined associations between birth weight and adult visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat in the population-based Fenland study.
A total of 1092 adults (437 men and 655 women) aged 30-55 y had available data on reported birth weight, standard anthropometric measures, and visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat estimated by ultrasound. In a subgroup (n = 766), dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry assessment of total abdominal fat was performed. Linear regression models were used to analyze relations between birth weight and the various fat variables adjusted for sex, age, education, smoking, and body mass index (BMI).
After adjustment for adult BMI, there was an inverse association between birth weight and total abdominal fat [B (partial regression coefficient expressed as SD/1-kg change in birth weight) = -0.09, P = 0.002] and visceral fat (B = -0.07, P = 0.01) but not between birth weight and subcutaneous abdominal fat (B = -0.01, P = 0.3). Tests for interaction showed that adult BMI modified the association between birth weight and visceral fat (P for interaction = 0.01). In stratified analysis, the association between birth weight and visceral fat was apparent only in individuals with the highest BMI tertile (B = -0.08, P = 0.04).
The inverse association between birth weight and adult abdominal fat appeared to be specific to visceral fat. However, associations with birth weight were apparent only after adjustment for adult BMI. Therefore, we suggest that rapid postnatal weight gain, rather than birth weight alone, leads to increased visceral fat.