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Pediatr Res. 2005 Dec;58(6):1238-42.

Sex differences in the relationships among weight gain, subcutaneous skinfold tissue and saltatory length growth spurts in infancy.

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Department of Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


As the mechanisms controlling the amount and timing of growth saltations are not well understood, the identification of physiologic coupling in weight and length growth are important for further understanding normal growth biology. Thirty-four healthy infants (13 males, 21 females) participated in a longitudinal growth study during the first year. Weekly weights and s.c. skinfolds (limb and trunk) were analyzed in a growth event-focused study. Coincident analysis tested the null hypothesis of chance concurrence between significant weight gain and saltatory length growth spurts. Logistic regression quantified this relationship and investigated the interaction between incremental weight gain and s.c. skinfolds on length growth spurts. The null hypothesis of random coincidence between weight gain and saltatory length growth was not supported. For girls, significant weight gain and length growth were coupled during the same week and length saltations were 42% more likely during the weeks of significant weight gain, with no interaction from s.c. skinfolds. For boys, length growth saltations were coupled to both previous and concomitant weight gain but were predicted only by previous weight gain, controlling for confounders. Boys were 68% more likely to grow in length the week following significant weight gain, and initial abdominal to suprailiac skinfold ratios conferred a 4-fold increased likelihood of length growth within the week, controlling for confounders. These data generate the hypothesis that a common growth signal cascade couples growth in weight and length/height with a time delay due to sex-specific biology, reflected in a s.c. fat fold interface.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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