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Growth Horm IGF Res. 2011 Aug;21(4):199-204. doi: 10.1016/j.ghir.2011.05.003. Epub 2011 May 31.

IGF-I and IGFBP-3 in healthy 9 month old infants from the SKOT cohort: breastfeeding, diet, and later obesity.

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Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 30, 1958 Frederiksberg, Denmark.



High IGF-I concentrations in infancy have been associated with later obesity but the interactions between diet, IGF-I concentrations and growth in early life are complex and involve programming of the IGF-I axis.


This paper examines how IGF-I and IGFBP-3 concentrations measured at age 9 months are related to diet and growth in infancy.


In the Danish SKOT cohort healthy term infants were included at age 9 months with follow-up at age 18 months. Total 252 infants had a full data set and were included in the analysis. Measurements include weight, length, skinfold thickness, waist circumference, 7-d food records, and blood analysis of IGF-I, and IGFBP-3.


Infants not being breastfed at 9 months of age (46%) had higher median IGF-I concentration than breastfed infants (51.6 vs. 44.2 ng/mL, P=0.0005) and there was a negative dose response effect of daily numbers of breastfeedings on IGF-I concentration. IGF-I concentration was negatively associated with birth weight and positively related to increase in weight, length and BMI between birth and 9 months. Between 9 months and 18 months of age increase in length was positively and increase in BMI was negatively related to IGF-I concentration.


Breastfeeding has a strong negative effect on IGF-I concentrations in late infancy. Although IGF-I concentrations at 9 months of age were negatively associated with change in BMI during the following 9 months we speculate that this could reflect an early adiposity rebound and thereby an increased risk of obesity later in life.

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