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Obes Facts. 2012;5(5):784-94. doi: 10.1159/000343916. Epub 2012 Oct 27.

Influence of parental overweight on the association of birth weight and fat distribution later in childhood.

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Research Unit for Dietary Studies, Institute of Preventive Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.



To examine whether the association between birth weight and fat distribution in childhood is modified by parental overweight.


Cross-sectional study of 728 Danish children aged 8-10 and 14-16 years. The main outcomes were waist circumference, waist-to-height ratio, subscapular skinfold, and subscapular-to-triceps skinfold ratio. Analyses were stratified by parental overweight status (none vs. ≥1 overweight parent) for each dependent variable, expressed as z-scores.


Birth weight z-score was negatively associated with waist circumference (β -0.08 SD; 95% CI -0.15, -0.02), waist-to-height ratio (β -0.15 SD; 95% CI -0.22, -0.07), and subscapular-to-triceps ratio (β -0.28 SD; 95% CI -0.44, -0.12) after adjustment for sex, age, puberty, preterm birth, BMI, height, socio-economic status, mother's age at delivery, parity, breastfeeding, energy intake, and aerobic fitness in the group with ≥1 overweight parent. Birth weight was negatively associated with subscapular skinfold in groups with (β -0.16 SD; 95% CI -0.24, -0.06) and without overweight parents (β -0.09 SD; 95% CI -0.16, -0.02), but the magnitude of the association was greater in the former group.


The association between birth weight and fat distribution seems to be influenced by parental overweight. Lower birth weights are associated with central adiposity among offspring of overweight parents.

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