Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jul;90(1):156-61. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.27408. Epub 2009 May 27.

Insulin-like growth factor I concentrations in infancy predict differential gains in body length and adiposity: the Cambridge Baby Growth Study.

Author information

  • 1Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.



Formula milk-fed infants show faster rates of growth and weight gain than do breastfed infants, and they have higher concentrations of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I).


Our objective was to determine the influence of IGF-I concentrations on gains in weight, length, body mass index (BMI), and adiposity in the first year of life.


IGF-I concentrations were measured in 953 capillary blood samples from 675 unselected infants at ages 3 and 12 mo. These infants were born between 2002 and 2008 in one center and were participating in a prospective longitudinal birth cohort. Weight, length, and 4 skinfold thicknesses as an indicator of adiposity were measured at ages 0, 3, and 12 mo. Analyses were adjusted for age and sex.


Infants who were formula milk-fed had higher IGF-I concentrations at 3 mo, and they showed greater gains in weight, length, BMI, and adiposity between age 3 and 12 mo. IGF-I concentrations at 3 mo were unrelated to subsequent overall weight gain (P = 0.5). However, higher IGF-I concentrations at age 3 mo predicted greater subsequent gains in body length (P < 0.001 and P = 0.007 in formula milk-fed and breastfed infants, respectively) and slower gains in BMI (P < 0.001 and P = 0.004, respectively) and adiposity (P = 0.03 and P = 0.003, respectively).


Our findings support a key role for IGF-I in the partitioning of overall infant weight gain into statural growth compared with adiposity. In formula milk-fed infants, higher IGF-I concentrations may lead to faster gains in length; however, other mechanisms likely explain their faster gains in weight, BMI, and adiposity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk