Birth weight, postnatal weight gain, and adult body composition in five low and middle income countries

Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.
American Journal of Human Biology (Impact Factor: 1.7). 01/2012; 24(1):5-13. DOI: 10.1002/ajhb.21227
Source: PubMed


To evaluate the associations between birth weight (BW), infancy, and childhood weight gain and adult body composition.
Subjects included participants of five birth cohort studies from low and middle income nations (Brazil, Guatemala, India, Philippines, and South Africa; n = 3432). We modeled adult body composition as a function of BW and conditional weight gain (CW), representing changes in weight trajectory relative to peers, in three age intervals (0-12 months, 12-24 months, 24 months-mid childhood).
In 34 of 36 site- and sex-specific models, regression coefficients associated with BW and CWs were higher for adult fat-free than for fat mass. The strength of coefficients predicting fat-free mass relative to those predicting fat mass was greatest for BW, intermediate for CWs through 24 months, and weaker thereafter. However, because fat masses were smaller and showed larger variances than fat-free masses, weaker relationships with fat mass still yielded modest but significant increases in adult % body fat (PBF). CW at 12 months and mid-childhood tended to be the strongest predictors of PBF, whereas BW was generally the weakest predictor of PBF. For most early growth measures, a 1 SD change predicted less than a 1% change in adult body fat, suggesting that any health impacts of early growth on changes in adult body composition are likely to be small in these cohorts.
BW and weight trajectories up to 24 months tend to be more strongly associated with adult fat-free mass than with fat mass, while weight trajectories in mid-childhood predict both fat mass and fat-free mass.

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Available from: Christopher W Kuzawa
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    • "A number of studies based on long-term follow-up of birth cohorts from high- and low-income countries have shown a positive relationship between birth weight (an indirect indicator of early nutrition) and adult LBM and muscle strength (4, 6, 28, 29). Conversely, follow-up studies of nutrition intervention trials in pregnant women have shown an inconsistent relationship between early nutrition exposure and LBM of the offspring (9, 10, 30). "
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    ABSTRACT: In the present study, we examined the associations of early nutrition with adult lean body mass (LBM) and muscle strength in a birth cohort that was established to assess the long-term impact of a nutrition program. Participants (n = 1,446, 32% female) were born near Hyderabad, India, in 29 villages from 1987 to 1990, during which time only intervention villages (n = 15) had a government program that offered balanced protein-calorie supplementation to pregnant women and children. Participants' LBM and appendicular skeletal muscle mass were measured using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry; grip strength and information on lifestyle indicators, including diet and physical activity level, were also obtained. Ages (mean = 20.3 years) and body mass indexes (weight (kg)/height (m)(2); mean = 19.5) of participants in 2 groups were similar. Current dietary energy intake was higher in the intervention group. Unadjusted LBM and grip strength were similar in 2 groups. After adjustment for potential confounders, the intervention group had lower LBM (β = -0.75; P = 0.03), appendicular skeletal muscle mass, and grip strength than did controls, but these differences were small in magnitude (<0.1 standard deviation). Multivariable regression analyses showed that current socioeconomic position, energy intake, and physical activity level had a positive association with adult LBM and muscle strength. This study could not detect a "programming" effect of early nutrition supplementation on adult LBM and muscle strength.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · American journal of epidemiology
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    • "A cohort study in Brazil found that weight gain during the first 2 years was positively related to greater BMI, lean body mass and weakly associated with fat mass, but not associated with fat mass/lean mass ratio later in life (Victora et al. 2007). The pooled analyses from these cohorts consistently demonstrated that weight gain during the first 24 months was more strongly associated with fat-free mass than fat mass (Kuzawa et al. 2012). Overall, higher weight gain during the first 2 years of life was associated with greater BMI later in life. "
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    ABSTRACT: Concerns about the increasing rates of obesity in developing countries have led many policy makers to question the impacts of maternal and early child nutrition on risk of later obesity. The purposes of the review are to summarise the studies on the associations between nutrition during pregnancy and infant feeding practices with later obesity from childhood through adulthood and to identify potential ways for preventing obesity in developing countries. As few studies were identified in developing countries, key studies in developed countries were included in the review. Poor prenatal dietary intakes of energy, protein and micronutrients were shown to be associated with increased risk of adult obesity in offspring. Female offspring seem to be more vulnerable than male offspring when their mothers receive insufficient energy during pregnancy. By influencing birthweight, optimal prenatal nutrition might reduce the risk of obesity in adults. While normal birthweights (2500–3999 g) were associated with higher body mass index (BMI) as adults, they generally were associated with higher fat-free mass and lower fat mass compared with low birthweights (<2500 g). Low birthweight was associated with higher risk of metabolic syndrome and central obesity in adults. Breastfeeding and timely introduction of complementary foods were shown to protect against obesity later in life in observational studies. High-protein intake during early childhood however was associated with higher body fat mass and obesity in adulthood. In developed countries, increased weight gain during the first 2 years of life was associated with a higher BMI in adulthood. However, recent studies in developing countries showed that higher BMI was more related to greater lean body mass than fat mass. It appears that increased length at 2 years of age was positively associated with height, weight and fat-free mass, and was only weakly associated with fat mass. The protective associations between breastfeeding and obesity may differ in developing countries compared to developed countries because many studies in developed countries used formula feeding as a control. Future research on the relationship between breastfeeding, timely introduction of complementary feeding or rapid weight gain and obesity are warranted in developing countries. The focus of interventions to reduce risk of obesity in later life in developing countries could include:
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Maternal and Child Nutrition
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    • "Methodologically, some research has attempted to examine SEP trajectories using retrospective data to establish childhood SEP [15] [17] [24]. The prospective nature of our study avoids recall bias in the estimates of early-life SEP. "
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    ABSTRACT: PurposeTo evaluate the associations between family socioeconomic trajectories from 0 to 11 years of age and risk factors for noncommunicable disease at 15 years.Methods Individuals born in the city of Pelotas, Brazil, in 1993 are part of a birth cohort study. Socioeconomic position, collected at birth and at 11 years of age, was our main exposure. Risk factors for chronic disease were collected at 15 years. Body mass index was transformed into Z score using the World Health Organization standard. Transport and leisure-time physical activity, smoking, and alcohol consumption were assessed by self-report. Blood pressure was measured using a digital sphygmomanometer.ResultsOf 5,249 cohort members, 85.7% were located at the 15-year follow-up visit. Rich adolescents were more likely to be overweight, be obese, and not use active modes of transport to school. Poor adolescents were more likely to smoke. In relation to socioeconomic trajectories, the odds of obesity were 46% higher among those who were “always rich” compared with those who were “always poor”; the odds of use of an inactive mode of transportation were 326% greater among the “always rich” than the “always poor,” whereas the reverse was observed for smoking (odds of 200%). The “always rich” had one-half the odds of walking or cycling to school compared with those who became wealthy in the studied period.Conclusions Adolescent socioeconomic position is a stronger determinant of risk factors for noncommunicable diseases than socioeconomic trajectories. However, trajectories do matter, particularly in terms of use of active transportation to school.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Journal of Adolescent Health
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