An overfed fetus can become an overweight teen
High levels of certain blood markers in your baby's umbilical cord indicate if your baby has more fat than normal — and if so, suggest that your baby will continue gaining more fat into late childhood and adolescence.
Study results were presented in a poster session Friday, April 1, at ENDO 2016, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Boston.
When measured, cord blood markers leptin and adiponectin indicate the degree of fat in a child at birth. But the relationships between these markers and the child's risk of obesity in later life was not clear until this study.
"Birthweight was positively associated with fat mass, waist circumference and body mass index at age 9 and 17.
"Fetal overnutrition may facilitate fetal growth and fat increase — as determined by cord leptin and birthweight — and may program the child to produce more fat extending into childhood and adolescence."
Joy Simpson, MBChB, Clinical Research Fellow in Maternal and Reproductive Health, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom and lead author.
To determne the association of cord-blood leptin, adiponectin and birthweight in childhood and latter adolescent fat, Simpson and colleagues measured blood from umbilical cords at 5,011 births in the United Kingdom.
Higher levels of cord-blood leptin, adiponectin along with greater birthweight, all connect to greater fat in the child by ages 9 and 17.
Although cord leptin was significantly associated with fat mass, body mass index, and waist circumference, these associations faded when adjusted for the particular characteristics of a mother and her pregnancy. Cord-blood adiponectin was not associated with any measures at age 9 — but by age 17, adiponectin was clearly associated with increased fat mass and waist circumference. By age 17, after adjusting for individual characteristics of a mother and her pregnancy, the effects of cord-blood leptin and adiponectin were even stronger.
"This work highlights the importance of optimizing maternal health before and during pregnancy to improve her offspring's health — by limiting greater adiposity into future generations."
Joy Simpson, MBChB
MBChB: Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degrees, awarded in the U.K., New Zealand and South Africa after 5 years of combined undergraduate—graduate course of study.
To examine the association of cord-blood leptin, adiponectin and birthweight with child and adolescent adiposity.
Research Design and Methods
Data from a UK prospective birth cohort were used to determine the associations of birthweight, cord-blood leptin and adiponectin with adiposity measures (body mass index (BMI) and DXA determined fat mass) at age 9 (N=2775) and 17 years (N=2138). Twenty imputation data sets were generated by chained equations, with measurements from the 11-year clinic and 15-year clinic informing imputation of missing values in the 9-year clinic and 17-year clinic respectively.
Cord-blood leptin was positively associated with z-scores of fat mass (coefficient 0.04, 95% CI: 0.00, 0.07), waist circumference (coefficient 0.04, 95% CI: 0.00, 0.07) and BMI (coefficient 0.04, 95% CI: 0.00, 0.08) at age 9. However, the effect size for fat mass was largely attenuated with adjustment for pregnancy characteristics. A similar but weaker pattern was observed for examinations at age 17 where cord leptin was significantly associated with z-scores of fat mass, waist circumference and BMI but these associations were absent after adjustment for maternal and pregnancy confounders. Cord-blood adiponectin was not associated with any measures of adiposity at age 9, but by contrast at age 17 adiponectin was positively associated with z-scores of fat mass (coefficient 0.02, 95% CI: 0.00, 0.03) and waist circumference (coefficient 0.02, 95% CI: 0.00, 0.03), with the effect size strengthened after adjustment for maternal and pregnancy characteristics. Birthweight was positively associated with z scores of fat mass, waist circumference and BMI at age 9 and 17. After adjustment for maternal and pregnancy characteristics, increasing birthweight remained associated with greater waist circumference (age 9: coefficient 0.02, 95% CI 0.02, 0.03; age 17: coefficient 0.03, 95% CI 0.02, 0.04) and BMI (age 9: coefficient 0.03, 95% CI 0.02, 0.04, age 17: coefficient 0.02, 95% CI 0.01, 0.03), with the association with fat mass attenuated to the null.
Fetal overnutrition may facilitate fetal growth and fat accretion, as determined by cord leptin and birthweight, and programme greater offspring adiposity that extends into childhood and adolescence.
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Apr 12, 2016 Fetal Timeline Maternal Timeline News News Archive
A mother's excessive weight gain in pregnancy can increase her
child's weight through early childhood and adolescence.
Image Credit: Public domain