The influence of parental BMI on the association of birthweight and fat distribution in children.

Amanda Rodrigues Amorim Adegboye, Lars Bo Andersen, Karsten Froberg, Berit Lilienthal Heitmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Studies have suggested a negative relationship between birthweight and central adiposity in childhood, but less is known about the influence of parental BMI on this association. We examined whether the association between BW z-score and fat-distribution is modified by parental overweight.
Method: A total of 728 schoolchildren aged at 8–10 and 14–16 years who participated in the Danish part of the European Youth Heart Study were evaluated. Waist circumference (WC), waist-to-height ratio (WHt = WC/ height) and subscapular-to-triceps ratio
(STR) were used as indicators of fat-distribution. Sum of 4 skinfold (S4SK) and BMI were used as adiposity indices. Linear regression analyses were stratified by parental overweight status (none versus ‡ 1 overweight parent) for each dependent variable, expressed as z-scores.
Results: Birthweight was negatively associated with WC [b –0.08 SD; P = 0.02], WHT [b –0.14 SD; P < 0.0001] and STR [b –0.125 SD, P < 0.01] after adjustment for sex, age, puberty, preterm birth, BMI, height, maternal education, paternal income, mother’s age at delivery, parity, breastfeeding, energy intake and physical fitness, only in the overweight group. In the overweight group, birthweight was positively associated with BMI [b 0.14 SD; P = 0.036], but the
association was lavished after controlling for fitness [b 0.07 SD; P = 0.235]. No significant associations were found among offspring of non-overweight parents. Birthweight was not associated with S4SK regardless of parental overweight status.
Conclusion: The effect of birthweight on central adiposity seems markedly influenced by parental BMI. Lower birthweights are associated with central adiposity only among offspring of overweight parents.
Conflict of interest: None disclosed.
Funding: Research relating to this abstract was funded by TRYG foundation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42
JournalObesity Reviews
Issue numbersuppl 12
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2011


TRYG foundation.


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